About a year ago, Google announced their face blurring technology, which automatically pixellated New Yorkers’ faces during the street view recordings. This was in response to numerous complaints of privacy violations, the most famous of which included Mary Kalin-Casey’s cat. The blurring technology seems to have worked well enough to scuttle the complaints. A quick scan through the streets of New York City leaves little to gawk at.
That is until I came across an art project surrounding a small area in Pittsburgh, called “A Street with a View”.
Street View technicians captured 360-degree photographs of the street with the scenes in action and integrated the images into the Street View mapping platform. This first-ever artistic intervention in Google Street View made its debut on the web in November of 2008.
This story even made the Washington Post. The interesting part – Google’s face blurring technology is on for some of the participants, and not for others? I doubt any one person will ever comb through the complete Street View archives, but if this was unintentional, how many other lapses might be found? With as much heat and money put into the effort, shouldn’t it work all the time? With the other questions surrounding Google’s intentions, should this be another one?