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Google blurs a cow’s face on Google Street View, goes viral on social media

Google’s software on Google Street View automatically blurs human faces due to privacy concerns. It had recently blurred a cow’s face which was heavily trolled on social media.

  • Updated: September 16, 2016 8:05 PM IST
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Google had recently blurred the face of a cow on Google Street View and the incident went viral on social media. The craze on the internet prompted Google to say that its face-blurring technology had been “a little overzealous”. The cow was snapped by Google’s cameras at Coe Fen, Cambridge, and seemingly given the same treatment humans receive for privacy reasons. A tweet by The Guardian’s David Shariatmadari highlighting the sight was retweeted more than 9,000 times, the BBC reported. Google admitted its face-blurring technology had been “a little overzealous”.

The cow’s face can clearly be seen grazing near the river Cam on an image taken slightly further away, but Google seems to have blurred it for a close-up view. Google’s Street View launched in 2007 and received widespread media coverage as cars mounted with cameras mapped streets around the world. To help combat privacy concerns, software is used to automatically blur human faces. Shariatmadari spotted the bovine anomaly and posted it on Twitter, saying it was “great to see Google takes cow privacy seriously”. “Udderly ridiculous,” said one user in reply to the tweet. “Google teat view,” said another to the same tweet. This incident has been reported by the Cambridge News and national media in Britain as well.

So far the tweet has been liked more than 12,000 times. A spokesman for Google said, “We thought you were pulling the udder one when we heard the moos, but it’s clear that our automatic face-blurring technology has been a little overzealous.” The spokesman further said, “Of course, we don’t begrudge this cow milking its five minutes of fame.”

  • Published Date: September 16, 2016 8:00 PM IST
  • Updated Date: September 16, 2016 8:05 PM IST