Screenshot: Joel Cunningham
With the advent of increasingly convenient features like 360 ° street-level photos available on Google Maps and other competing map services, there is always the risk that your personal information will be captured in a publicly available photo in a way that you would prefer to avoid – be it referred to as the outside of your house or the place where you park your car.
When faced with such a problem, in many cases there is a simple solution: you can ask the map service to blur or remove the image. We’ll show you how to do this with the most popular map services.
How to Hide Your House on Google Maps
Screenshot: Pranay Parab
Street View from Google Maps is incredibly useful, but you may have valid reasons for your property not being tracked on the service. If you feel uncomfortable having a picture of your house available to the whole world, you can ask Google to blur it. To do this, open Google Maps and search for your address or a nearby attraction. In the left pane, click the Street view Tab and select the picture that shows your house.
Next, click the vertical three points Icon in the upper left corner of the picture and select To report a problem. This will bring up a page where you can choose the area to be blurred. Click and drag on the picture to align the red square at your house (you can also move it to reveal a car or anything else in the photo). Then under Request blur, choose my home. Then share your email address, activate the captcha box and click on Submit.
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Google will review your request and blur your home on the map.
How to hide your house on Apple Maps
Apple Maps has a feature called Look Around, which is similar to Google Street View and provides you with 360 ° photos of different locations around the world. If you would like to find your home on this service and remove it, you can email MapsImageCollection@apple.com detailing your problem. Apple will look into your request and hide your home from their service – usually within a week.
(To learn more about Apple Maps’ data collection practices, visit this page.)
How to hide your home on Bing Maps
Screenshot: Pranay Parab
Microsoft’s Bing cards has a Google Street View-like feature called StreetSide. If you see your home on StreetSide, you can ask Microsoft to remove it from there too. The company says it will review these requests and remove data within 30 to 60 days.
To send such a request, open Bing Maps and navigate to your address. Scroll down in the left pane and click on any image that has the StreetSide label on it. This opens a 360-degree view of the area. To report a problem, click Report privacy concerns with this picture in the lower left corner. This will open a new page for you to choose House next to the question “What is your concern?”
Click on the part of the picture that contains your house. You will see a red dot on the picture that labels this part. click Submit to report the image to Microsoft.
What about Waze and OpenStreetMap?
Services like Waze and OpenStreetMap don’t have a Street View feature that shows panoramic photos of different houses or people from the ground, so you don’t have to worry about removing these services (yet).