People Keep Finding Deceased Loved Ones Frozen in Time on Google Street Views

(source: Technology Times)

Some people are discovering that if they scroll through Google Street View long enough and use a time travel feature, they just might find the image of a late loved one captured by one of Google’s cameras.

It was all sparked by a post on the Twitter account @Fesshole where the user confessed to going on Google Maps to look for images dated before the death of the user’s father.

Since then, it has led to many users sharing touching images of their deceased family members and friends spotted in the Street View captures – frozen in time.

For instance, Twitter-user @seanyboyo shows his parents walking hand-in-hand past a red-coloured car.

Meanwhile, Neil Henderson, an editor at BBC, tweeted an image of his father and wrote, “My dad outside his house; passed away a few years ago, but still here”.

According to VOX, this is hardly the first time people have used the time travel feature in Street View to go searching for the departed on Google Maps, or to share the experience on social media.

Google released Street View in 2007, and these types of viral Twitter posts have been happening since at least 2013.

Google says the digital recreation of the physical world is powered by millions of cameras that capture multiple angles, collected by people “driving, pedalling, sailing, and walking around and capturing imagery”. The company has also moved to allow users to submit their own images to supplement its own Street View.

While helping people remember dead family members isn’t really the intended purpose of Google Maps, a spokesperson said that it was “heartwarming” people were using the platform in this way.

On a surface level, yes – it is somewhat heartwarming but many argued that it is a form of unwanted surveillance. Google says it has systems in place for blurring out personally-identifying information from passersby and license plates in the photos it takes.

But clearly, some people can still be identified if a family member knows what they’re looking for.

This just serves as a reminder that Google plays a major role in documenting our daily lives over time and um… we’re not sure how to feel about that.