Google-branded cars have been trundling up and down many of the world’s streets since 2007, capturing panoramic images for its online Street View tool that lets you explore locations in great detail at ground level.
But have you ever wondered if you yourself have been immortalized on Street View, your presence documented online for all eternity (or for as long as Street View lasts, at least)?
Well, it’s easy to find out …
Cast your mind back — can you recall ever having seen a Street View car driving along the road? With Google branding and a bundle of camera tech perched on the roof, the vehicles are hard to miss. If you recall one passing by, then the chances are you’re already part of Street View’s vast database of imagery.
If you can remember where you were when you saw the car, simply check out that location on Street View to see if you’re in some of the images.
Privacy rules mean that your face should be blurred out, but you’re certain to recognize that old jacket you’re wearing, or that unmistakeable posture as you make your way along the sidewalk.
Be aware, though, that Google likes to periodically update its Street View data, especially in towns and cities where the urban landscape can rapidly change. However, even then, you’ll still be able to find yourself in earlier imagery.
To search for yourself, head to the desktop version of Street View and confirm the “image capture” date at the bottom of the display. This will show the month and year that a Google car visited that particular place. To check previous image captures for the same location, look for a small clock icon at the top left of the display. Click on that, and then use the slider for different years to step back in time. To enlarge the older imagery, simply click on it in the small box at the top left of the display.
In future, if a Street View car passes you in the street, it’s almost certain that its cameras are clicking away, photographing its surroundings with you in the frame. In that case, hit Street View a couple of months later to see if Google has added the data for that particular area. You can quickly confirm this by once again checking the capture date at the bottom right of the display.
Some folks are pretty fast-thinking when they spot a Street View car and have some fun by adopting a silly posture or creating a bizarre scene that will later appear online. But take note — anything considered risqué is likely to result in more than just your face being blurred out.
If you’re actually keen to get yourself on Street View, Google posts a list of where its vehicles are currently operating.
Finally, if Google’s algorithms failed to automatically blur your face, you can request the company does so by clicking on the three dots at the top left of the display, and then on “report a problem.”