As websites track our search histories, or buy and sell our online data, it’s easy to feel like online privacy is a thing of the past. But Google Maps recently showed it takes online privacy so seriously, it even protects the identities of cows.
It’s Google Maps’s policy to blur the faces of people captured by Street View cars as they map the Earth. As NPR reports, the service recently took that face-blurring practice a little further than usual. On a road along the bank of England's River Cam, a Google camera captured a group of grazing cows. Normally, Google only obscures human faces, but apparently the website’s automatic blurring technology decided the identity of one black-and-white cow needed protecting—and blurred its face.
David Shariatmadari, an editor for The Guardian, noticed the mysterious bovine on Google Maps this week and posted a screenshot on Twitter, where it quickly went viral. When NPR asked Google why that particular cow’s identity needed protecting, Google replied, "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."
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