While, sure, anybody could just drive by your house to see what it looks like—all the tin foil in the world isn’t going to shield you from that privacy “violation,” though a fence might help—you can make it harder for people to see your home on Google Maps.
The solution involves blurring out your entire house, and while it’s a sure-fire way to make your abode the ugliest-looking address on your virtual block, you may still want to do it. If you don’t like the image Google captured with one of its many Street View cars, or you want to keep random internet strangers from doing digital drive-bys, the option is there.
There’s also one big caveat if you use it. Once you elect to blur your address, you can’t unblur it. Full stop. I’m not sure Google even makes exemptions if you’re the new owner of a house that was previously blurred; you can try, but I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you. I also believe this request persists even if, or when, Google takes new Street View images of your area. It’s that big of a deal and, yes, it’s a really shitty “prank” to pull on someone else. Don’t do that.
I realize I’m taking a bit of a joking tone when describing this technique, but as Mashable reports, there are plenty of legitimate reasons why you might want to blur your living space:
“…maybe you’re worried about an online stalker, maybe you don’t want strangers peering in your windows, or maybe you value privacy for its own sake and simply don’t think Google should have indexed and digitized photos of your home available for all to see.”
To get started with the digital blurring, pull up Google Maps on your computer and enter your home address. Either click on the picture of it in the upper-left corner of Google Maps to summon Street View, or click on the little person in the lower-right corner and drag the body onto the street.
Once you’re looking at an image of your house, look for the teeny-tiny “Report a problem” link in the lower-right corner:
Click on that, and you’ll be taken to a screen that allows you to fine-tune the appearance of the image you’re looking to report: as in, make sure the targeting box covers your entire house. From there, select what you’d like Google to blur (“My home”), enter your email, and submit the form:
Google might reach out to you for additional information, but it should also give you a status update regarding your request. I’m assuming this process doesn’t take very long—I haven’t done it myself, as to not annoy my landlord—so you should have a blurry house soon enough.