It Turns Out A Lot Of People Visit Their Dead Relatives On Google Maps

If the image of your loved ones has been updated, it's easy to go back and see the archived photos. Image credit: Karolina.Lukjaniuk/ashva/grynold/studiomango/Shutterstock.com/IFLScience

Last week, Twitter account Fesshole - which posts people's anonymous confessions for all to judge - posted a tweet that was much sweeter than people's usual confessions of marital fights, misunderstandings, and questionable music taste.

The anonymous tweet came from someone who had lost their father, and sometimes heads to Google Maps to view him on there, so that they can "walk around a little bit in a world where he is still with me".

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The tweet proved to be surprisingly popular, with many others saying that they do the same.

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"I park up outside my nans house on Streetview," wrote another. "I was at my nans when Streetview car came passed and I watched her peer out of the window in amazement by it. I can't see her in Streetview, but I know she's there, peering out. I lost her 5 years ago."

Several people complained that they had used to do this, but when the Google Streetview car took an updated photo, the photograph of their loved one was removed. However, Google does archive previous Streetview photographs, meaning that if your lost loved ones (or a cat pulling one of the all-time great photobombs) are removed, you can still access it on Google Maps. Just go to the street you wish to view and look at the top left-hand corner of the screen. If there is a previous photograph available, you will see a clock icon. Click on it, and you will be able to scroll back in time to see them again.

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As the internet has become a bigger part of our lives, tech companies have had to find ways to deal with what happens when people using their sites die. In November 2019, Twitter reversed its decision to delete inactive accounts, following a lot of users stating that they like to look back at their deceased friends' and relatives' tweets from time to time. Facebook, meanwhile, made it possible for people to memorialize an account of someone who has died, so that their photos and thoughts aren't lost.

Google has the archive for a number of reasons, and it's not known whether they were aware of the way people are using Google Maps to view their loved ones, nor whether they know of the appeal. Which is, as one user neatly sums up

"My Dad always at home".

 


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