Google street view camera blurs cow's face in Cambridge

Company blames ‘overzealous’ privacy technology for concealing the cow’s identity

Harry Cockburn
Friday 16 September 2016 09:39
Comments
The cow in question
The cow in question

Google’s street view cameras have protected the privacy of a cow in Cambridge by blurring its face out.

The animal was photographed by the Google street view camera on a towpath at Coe Fen, in Cambridge. However, the software which is programmed to blur out human faces appears to have mistakenly given a passing cow the treatment.

A tweet by The Guardian’s David Shariatmadari drew attention to the mysterious cow.

He tweeted: “Great to see Google takes cow privacy seriously”, and posted a picture of the blurred-out bovine. It has been liked more than 12,000 times.

But the streetview camera didn’t immediately blur out the face of the cow. From a further distance, the cow’s white face and pink nose can be clearly seen.

But as the camera gets closer to the grazing animal, the software apparently recognised it as human and blurred it out.

From further away, the cow's non-human face is clearly visible

A spokesman for Google said: “We thought you were pulling the udder one when we herd the moos, but it's clear that our automatic face-blurring technology has been a little overzealous.

“Of course, we don't begrudge this cow milking its five minutes of fame.”

One Twitter user branded the incident “Udderly ridiculous”, while another wrote: “Google teat view”.

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