I was searching StreetView in the UK for a particular road sign but when I got to the location I saw this:

blurred street sigh

Why has Google blurred out the street name, but only one part of the street name?

Other views haven't blurred out the name, but in those the sign is either further away or more edge on.

I can't be for privacy reasons - after all knowing where you are is the point of Street View.

  • 1
    What country? Some (notably Germany) require more to be blurred out than some others. Also, I know that the GOOG blurs out license plates. That sign looks like it could have been mistaken for such.
    – ale
    Oct 7, 2013 at 13:25
  • It's the UK, and registration plates in the UK are blurred too.
    – ChrisF
    Oct 7, 2013 at 13:27
  • Is it typical for street signs to be placed on fences there? It almost seems more like a nickname for a private drive or something than a street sign.
    – panhandel
    Oct 7, 2013 at 22:40
  • 1
    Confirmed. But if you "walk" into Marian Way then turn around, you can read it with no blur. Oct 8, 2013 at 4:01

1 Answer 1


Google Maps: Street View: Privacy and Security (UK version)

Individuals and license plates are blurred

We have developed cutting-edge face and license plate blurring technology that is applied to all Street View images. This means that if one of our images contains an identifiable face (for example that of a passer-by on the sidewalk) or an identifiable license plate, our technology will automatically blur it out, meaning that the individual or the vehicle cannot be identified. If our algorithms missed something, you can easily let us know.

I bet that it's a false-positive for a license plate. You could always use the "Report a problem" link at the bottom of the page.

(For what it's worth, it's blurred for me here in the U.S.)

From the Google Maps support forum:

All faces, licenses plates, etc. are blurred to protect privacy. Sometimes false images such as the sign you discovered gets picked up and blurred. This is an automated process and is not reversible.

  • 1
    I would hope that it's blurred on the source image. I wouldn't expect them to do the blurring "on the fly".
    – ChrisF
    Oct 7, 2013 at 13:47
  • 1
    Well, I reported it, but it was declined very quickly by whatever bot they have monitoring the channel.
    – ale
    Oct 7, 2013 at 14:07
  • 1
    Interesting that they say the process is irreversible. That would imply that they overwrite the original image after blurring.
    – ChrisF
    Oct 8, 2013 at 12:34
  • Yes, well, they're not going to tell us what goes in the secret sauce, are they? It wouldn't surprise me that as the algorithm gets more sophisticated this particular mis-blur will be corrected in the future.
    – ale
    Oct 8, 2013 at 12:36
  • 4
    @Seth, you're probably right there, but then Google have just announced a "time machine" option to view streets where they have several data sets, so I don't think that they're short of disk space.
    – ChrisF
    Apr 23, 2014 at 22:04

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