Google Street View can be a lifesaver when you're traveling or moving to a new place. But let's face it: Sometimes things can get a little creepy, like if someone uses Street View to, say, stalk your house.
Celebrities like Paul McCartney and Jimmy Page have already asked Google to blur out their houses on Street View, but this privacy feature is not just for famous people. You can do it, too!
There's not a whole lot of privacy to go around nowadays, so it's a good idea to take advantage of any opportunity for anonymity you can find. It's fairly easy for anyone to ask Google to blur out their house from Street View. Here's how:
1. Locate your house on Street View. Go to Google Maps and search for your street address. We used the HuffPost/AOL office in New York City as an example:
Then, you'll need to drop the little Street View man onto the street in front of your house to get into Street View mode. Check out the entrance to our building:
2. Click "Send feedback" at the bottom right of the screen. When you do that, you'll be redirected to a form to "report inappropriate Street View" content. It will look like this:
3. Complete the form. First, adjust the view of the image so that it's focused on the right building. Then, say you want your house blurred and provide your email address. If you see any other sensitive content (for instance, Google commits to blurring out all faces and license plates), we suggest you report that as well. Last, type in the reCAPTCHA -- yes, Google, we're not bots -- and press submit.
Google Maps' privacy and security guidelines say:
We provide easily accessible tools allowing users to request further blurring of any image that features the user, their family, their car or their home. In addition to the automatic blurring of faces and license plates, we will blur the entire car, house, or person when a user makes this request for additional blurring. Users can also request the removal of images that feature inappropriate content (for example: nudity or violence).
Hopefully Google will comply with your request, and you'll be one step closer to going off the grid.
A version of this post originally appeared on July 7, 2014.