Google Maps Makes Exception & Speeds Up Process To Replace Image Of Shooting Victim

google-maps-logo-smGoogle Maps is making an exception to its process for reviewing image removal requests, and speeding up the actions needed to replace a satellite image of a 14-year old shooting victim. Following a story broadcast on KTVU-TV, a CNN affiliate in Oakland, California and a report on, Google claims it will take approximately eight days to remove the image of the 2009 crime scene involving the slain teenager.

According to an update on the story from, vice president of Google Maps Brian McClendon released the following the statement:

Our hearts go out to the family of this young boy…Google has never accelerated the replacement of updated satellite imagery from our maps before, but given the circumstances we wanted to make an exception in this case.

The story began when Jose Barrera, the father of the victim, found a Google Maps image that was taken near the same area where his 14 year old son’s slain body had been found on August 15, 2009. says the image contained, “A police cruiser and a small group of people standing near what appears to be a prone human form near a set of train tracks.”

The report says the father had planned to formally complain to Google about removing the image, and contact state officials to lobby on his behalf.

According to Google Maps privacy policy, users can submit requests to have images replaced from the “Report a Problem” link located in the bottom right corner of map images. The Google Maps privacy policy website states, “In addition to the automatic blurring of faces and license plates, we will blur the entire car, house or person when a user makes this request for additional blurring. Users can also request the removal of images that feature inappropriate content (for example: nudity or violence).”

While the Google says it will review reports “promptly” it does not offer a time frame for when users can expect to receive a response. Going on McClendon’s statement, eight days to remove an image is much faster than Google’s usual response time.

The following video includes the original interview with the Jose Barrera broadcast by KTVU-TV:

Related Topics: Channel: Local | Google: Maps & Local | Google: Privacy | Legal: Privacy | Search & Society: General


About The Author: is Third Door Media's General Assignment Correspondent, and reports on the latest news and updates for Marketing Land and Search Engine Land. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including,, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy's articles.

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  • James R. Halloran

    That’s heartbreaking! If this was one of our loved ones, you would want this image removed, too. It’s not easy being reminded of terrible things like this, nor is it heartwarming to see a loved one’s murder be made a spectacle of to the public. I hope Google will do the right thing and replace the image entirely instead of just blurring it out.

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