What is Google Trying to Hide in Downtown Cedar Falls?
I was looking something up on Google's awesome Street View service when I noticed something unusual on Main St. in Cedar Falls... A blurred out object. I was not zoomed in too close so, naturally I zoomed in... What I found was Google had blurred out the face of the statue in front of the Oster Regent theater. Look -
You'll notice the statue, who the Cedar Falls city website explains is a life-size sculpture of Shirley and Gene Blair's parents, Merle and Winifred Blair, who bought the theater (now a playhouse) in 1921. At that time they operated it as a movie theater. But why is Google blurring it? Here's an even closer look...
Well, the reason is simple: Google does its best to edit license plate number and faces when they post their Street View maps. This helps maintain privacy and avoid people complaining they've been photographed against their will. It appears as though the Merle and Winifred Blair statue is life-like enough that Google's algorithms detected it was a face and went ahead with the blur effect to prevent privacy violations. Still, if you get a chance to see the statue up close, you'll likely find it could care less where its photo ends up since... it's just a statue.