Google Maps has immortalized a new unusual scene. On Google Street View, we see a French policeman giving two fingers of honor to a Google Car which travels the streets of Roubaix. The photo quickly made the rounds on social networks. For its part, Google has erased the scene from its mapping service via an update.
This November 12, 2020, the Best Of Google Maps Twitter account published a photo of a police van traveling in rue Voltaire in Roubaix. The cliché was visible on Google Street View, the service integrated into Maps which allows you to walk virtually anywhere in the world. In the police van, we see a policeman who makes two fingers of honor in the direction of a Google Car.
To feed Street View panoramas, Google relies on a fleet of cars equipped with cameras. Since 2008, they have crisscrossed the cities of France to digitize all the streets. “We travel through many countries with Street View vehicles in order to provide you with images that enhance your experience and allow you to discover the world around you” Google explains on its website. During 2011, all French cities were digitized on Street View.
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The photo goes viral but the policeman’s face has been blurred
The policeman’s gesture quickly went around the web. Since its publication, the Best Of Google Maps tweet has been shared more than 7000 times. Many internet users are shocked or amused by the police officer’s reaction. Luckily for him, his face and the van’s license plate were blurred. “We automatically blur faces and license plates in our images. We have developed sophisticated technology for blurring faces and license plates ” says Google, anxious to preserve the privacy of people who appear by chance in Street View images.
As we could read on Google Maps, the photo was taken in August 2019. Since then, the photo has been replaced. While walking on Google Street View, one can no longer see the famous police van in rue Voltaire. In September, an update has indeed replaced the controversial image with a photo showing the empty roadway.