Understanding Technology

Have you looked for a deceased loved one on Google Maps?

Google Maps has become a valuable resource for those looking to investigate and explore locations and places worldwide from the comfort of their own homes. It has now emerged that many Google Maps users have discovered images of late loved ones – something that many find comforting, but others feel is a little creepy.

 - 2 Min Read
Last updated and fact checked:
Have you looked for a deceased loved one on Google Maps?
Editorial Note: We earn a commission from partner links on Age Times. Commissions do not affect our writers’ or editors’ opinions or evaluations. Read our full affiliate disclosure here.

In recent years, Google Maps and features such as Google Street View have become an increasingly means of exploring locations worldwide from the privacy and comfort of your own home. While many use the tool for practical purposes, some simply look at it for fun – for instance, to look at houses where they used to live and enjoy a little nostalgia.

However, some people have been taking to social media to report that using a “time travel” scrolling feature on Google Maps has enabled them to view images of late loved ones that Google Street View cameras have captured. These Google cameras have frozen the images of many deceased people in time and have led to some coming across these images after their loved ones have passed away.

Creepy or comforting?

For some people who have lost a loved one and attended their funeral to say their final goodbyes, suddenly coming across an image of them while using Google Maps can be quite alarming and creepy. However, for some others, it has proven quite comforting.

Google Maps users have posted several social media posts over recent days discussing their discoveries of late loved ones while looking at images and locations. This has attracted attention from both other Google Maps users and the media.

One writer, Sherri Turner, posted on social media about her experience. She wrote, “I look at my mom’s old house on Google Maps Street View, the house where I grew up. It says, ‘Image captured May 2009’. There is a light on in the bedroom. It is still her house; she is still alive.”

Hers is one of several tweets and social media posts talking about the discovery of images of late loved ones through Google Maps. These posts have resulted in comments from others who are also keen to share their stories and experiences.

While it can be a pleasant surprise for people to discover images of late loved ones on Google Maps, it has also raised concerns. This is because it has highlighted that people are unaware when their image is captured on Google Maps cameras, while those who have passed away can do nothing about their images remaining on Google Maps.

Image Credit: Walter Baxter, CC BY-SA 2.0

See More