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Photo via Peter Castleton/Flickr Remix by Monica Riese

Google doesn’t want you to know the identity of this cow

What secrets is it hiding?


David Britton

Internet Culture

Posted on Sep 14, 2016   Updated on May 26, 2021, 12:41 am CDT

In May 2007 Google Maps rolled out Street View and blew people’s minds. It was already pretty freaky to be able to get online and see your house from above, but now, thanks to a giant fleet of cars (and one camel) driving around the world, you could see it the same way you would if you were walking up to your front door.

Google Street View of Jimmy Carter's old house

Google Street View of Jimmy Carter’s old house

Screengrab via Google Maps

But as it turns out, there were people walking around down there, and some of them weren’t thrilled that their faces were now being broadcast across the internet, so in 2008 Google started implementing technology that detected and blurred out faces. Now we’ll never know who else besides Ringo Starr was in the Beatles.

Obviously the algorithm behind the blurring technology isn’t perfect, because while it doesn’t recognize Ringo, it did decided to protect the privacy of this cow.

We do know that the cow lives in Coe Fen, U.K., and seems to enjoy grass, but other than that it could be any black and white bovine, and as one man points out, it’s not like all cows look the same.

What’s interesting is that a quick zoom out reveals that Google doesn’t care about protecting the privacy of all cows.

Which leads us to conclude that Google has chosen to hide this specific cow’s identity for a reason. This isn’t just any cow; this is a cow with a secret.

What is it you know, cow? And why are you hiding?

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*First Published: Sep 14, 2016, 1:06 pm CDT