My friend Tim Harmon was out for a walk earlier this summer in his Billings Heights neighborhood when he noticed a Google Maps Street View car cruising by in front of his house. Tim gave a friendly wave and didn't really think much of it until he recently pulled up his address on Street View. Lo and behold, he's digitally enshrined in the Google universe. For now, anyway.

Photo by Suzy Brooks on Unsplash

I spotted the Google car in Billings today (10/21).

Harmon shared the pic on social media yesterday, and coincidentally, I drove past a Google Maps Street View car this morning on way to the office. We crossed paths on Old Laurel Road, near the intersection of King Ave E (by the Bayou Casino). I waved, but I think I was a little too late.

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Drivers earn a fairly decent wage.

If you like driving and spending a ton of time in your car, perhaps a job as a Street View driver sounds like fun. According to the hiring website Glassdoor.com, Google Street View drivers earn a national average of $43,778. Okay, so you won't get rich. On the flip side, it hardly seems like difficult work. You don't have to deal with the public and get to listen to the radio all day. I can certainly think of worse jobs.

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Photo by Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash

How often do Google cars drive through Montana?

The high-tech cars use a combination of 360-degree cameras and laser measuring devices, along with GPS data and other information to stitch together their impressive Street Views. According to Google, they began updating their Street Views in Montana in June 2021 and will wrap up the latest round of filming in November. Their list included every county in the state for fresh views.

The tech site Alphr.com reported there is no set schedule when Google Street View updates, and it can vary a lot depending on where you live. They wrote,

If you’re in a city or highly-populated area you’ll see an updated view rather quickly compared to more rural areas.

When I pull up the Street View for my home address, it looks like the Google car has only ventured into my cul-de-sac twice. Once in 2011 and once in 2015.

Photo by Lianhao Qu on Unsplash

You can protect your privacy, somewhat.

Google Earth and Street View are fun ways to virtually "see" just about anywhere in the world. However, some locations are intentionally blurred out. Usually, they are military bases, government installations, or nuclear power plants. InterestingEngineering.com lists 25 places that are off-limits to public view. Sometimes the Google cameras catch people doing weird stuff.

Here Is How To Blur Your Home On Google Street View