Privacy and Google Maps

Toronto map

JumpTools Google Map

Here’s a fun activity: Google map one of your listings. Are you happy with what you see on street view? If not, did you know home owners have some control over the images that get used?

If the photo on Google maps street view is less than ideal for you or your client, you can request to blur out the image. Google is committed to protecting privacy and one way they do this is by removing identifiable information like vehicle license plate numbers and blurring faces on street views. But here’s something not everyone knows: Google has also created a way for users to participate in the privacy process by providing a tool for removing sensitive or delicate information.

So, before you publish your listing, check what Google map is showing first. You might be surprised at how attractive the house looks! However, if there is something there you do not want seen, the homeowner should ask Google to change it. Google should have blurred license plates on cars, but your client has the choice to go deeper than that by requesting the entire car be blurred so that the make, model and colour of the car cannot be identified.

Another example: if your client does not want the rest of the world to know there are children in the house, you might suggest that they ask Google to blur objects like sandbox, tricycles or kid’s swing sets that might be visible.

As a REALTOR dedicated to providing an excellent customer service for your clients, it is in your best interest to know simple steps to protect your privacy-conscious customers and advise them on how to do this. Here’s a quick how-to.

How to Blur Images from Google Maps Street View

1. Go to www.maps.google.ca
2. Enter the house address in the search box then press enter.
3. Click on the Street View image (this should be on the left hand side of the map) and locate the house.
4. On the bottom right hand corner of the image, click on the small print that says Report a Problem.
5. You will be taken to a Report an Inappropriate Street View page where you will need to a fill out the details to request blurring. You will need to provide your email address and click on the captcha to prove you are not a robot!
6. Click submit and you’re done.

In today’s online world, you know that the first things customers do when they see a listing they like is to map it. If the street view map shows the house and neighbourhood in a wonderful light, that is fantastic and should help you. If not, take charge of your online assets and control what others can and cannot see. You are in the business of presenting your client’s property in the best possible light so look at your listing with a critical eye and help your client protect their privacy at the same time.