We are used to faces and number plates being obscured by Google to protect privacy for images on Street View, but animals don’t often suffer the same fate – except for this Cambridge cow.
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.
The search giant admitted its technology may have been a little overeager.
But the streetview camera didn’t immediately blur out the face of the cow.The animal's face can clearly be seen grazing near the river River Cam on an image taken slightly further away, but Google seems to have blurred it for a close-up view.
Google's Street View launched in 2007 and received widespread media coverage as cars mounted with cameras mapped streets around the world.
To help combat privacy concerns, software is used to automatically blur human faces.
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”.