Posted August 25, 2008 10:17 am by with 20 comments

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A California resident is suing Google for trespassing. Apparently Google’s Street View driver ignored a "No Trespassing" sign, drove down a private road, and snapped photos of the resident’s house.

The resident decided that simply submitting a removal request was too easy–and lacked any kind of chance for a settlement from Google–so the case is now before a judge. While legal-eagles will enjoy the debate over whether this truly is an invasion of privacy, or trespassing, I got a kick out of Ars Technica’s comparison to how Google should have treated the sign:

In the real world, things like private roads and trespassing signs serve the same purpose as the tools Google provides for turning away its indexing robots; they are opt-out mechanisms from an earlier age. Forcing people to build a private road, erect a sign, and then still use some online tools to have the pictures pulled (after already being available to the world) seems unduly burdensome on a common-sense level, and it has little to do with whether a stranger pulls into your driveway simply in order to turn around.

The lesson here? If you don’t won’t Google driving on private property, use a "NoIndex, NoFollow" sign instead of "No Trespassing." 😉

  • Good idea Andy, “nofollow/noindex” will be a household term in a year or so. Good looking and commited girls will also wear t-shirts saying “nofollow/noindex”. lol.

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  • @San – LOL on the t-shirts.

  • What a parody! Great post. Thanks.

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  • Noindex/nofollow in your front yard — ha ha, good quip Andy 🙂

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  • LOL very funny.

    Would I also need to check the robots.txt file to see if my wife was allowing me to come home tonight?


  • It’s not very often when a post makes me smile. i love it. 🙂 Thanks Andy.

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  • LOL! Wasn’t it Yahoo! that ignored some of these commands?

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  • Great post. Thanks.

  • I have my sniper rifle ready if Google goes on my private property.

  • Hi,

    I think noindex, nofollow ….. is out !!


  • In all seriousness I think what Google did was wrong. I know you’re allowed to take pictures in public but surely private should be ‘private’.

    Time to get myself a sign saying noindex and nofollow!


  • I’m going to block Google out of my private property with robots.txt

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  • Andy, the proper syntax can be found on this page:

  • Is Google’s mission to discover everything, everywhere, and share it with everyone, everywhere? Better question: is there anybody who thinks that’s a good idea?

  • Sure I can put an NoIndex, NoFollow on my front porch… but I rather place a Disallow Robot out there… possibly similar to the traffic control robot from Robocop… That should keep Google away… 🙂

  • Noindex and nofollow. I’ve used them only a few times because for me google is always welcomed. I would always invite google to my private party.

  • HAhahahaha… rather amusing, I’ll be noindexing everything, but feel free to carry on with my neighbors.

    On the other hand, this could be quite disturbing… would we have to opt out of everything?

  • PS3

    If only you could use something similar with the IRS/Inland Revenue !!!

  • another great post..very nice!

  • Hilarious. Great to see the ‘little people’ standing up for themselves against the big people. Love the irony and humour…wicked post!!