After numerous attempts by folks to get Google to remove their faces from Street View, Google is now blurring faces. A quick and easy way to obscure people’s identity. Especially helpful if you’re, say, a prominent musician leaving a German brothel.
Nah, that wouldn’t have helped him. Damn you Roxanne.
The technology uses a computer algorithm to scour Google’s image database for faces, then blurs them, said John Hanke, director of Google Earth and Google Maps, in an interview at the Where 2.0 conference here.
Google has begun testing the technology in Manhattan, the company announced on its LatLong blog. Ultimately, though, Hanke expects it to be used more broadly.
Dealing with privacy–both legal requirements and social norms–is hard but necessary, Hanke said.
“It’s a legitimate issue,” he said. He likened the issues some have with Street View to the ones that took place when Google introduced aerial views to Google Maps. It took time for the public, regulators, and Google to get comfortable with the feature, but, “It needs that debate. We see that and try to let it play out.”
So, is this an improvement? What do you think?