June 30, 2010— -- When Claire Rowlands, a 25-year-old mother from the U.K., checked out Google Street View recently, she didn't just see an image of her grandmother's garden, she saw a picture of her 3-year-old toddler wearing nothing but his shoes.
Though the search engine giant had blurred out the registration plate of a nearby car in the driveway, the image of her naked son Louis was left untouched, the U.K.'s Daily Mail reported.
"I just felt sick to my stomach when I saw the naked picture of Louis on the Internet," Rowlands, who lives down the street from her grandmother in Walkden, Greater Manchester in the U.K., told the Daily Mail. "I'm angry, disgusted and upset about it -- they should be checking every image before it goes up. He was just playing in the garden and we didn't expect in a million years he'd have his picture taken and put on the Internet for anyone to see."
Soon after the company was alerted to the photo, a Google spokeswoman told ABCNews.com that it was replaced with an image that blurs out the child from the waist down.
"We certainly understand that photos like this can be very sensitive and concerning," she said, adding that Google has tools in place that let people flag images that they think are inappropriate or sensitive. Once the images are brought to the company's attention, the images are taken down as quickly as possibly -- which can range from within a few hours of the reports to a few days.
Another Google spokeswoman told the Daily Mail that the photo was replaced within an hour of being flagged.
Google has come under fire for Street View images before. In 2008, a Pittsburgh couple sued the company, claiming that Street View was an invasion of their privacy. The couple claimed the company trespassed when it collected images on their private road. In 2009, a district court in Pennsylvania dismissed the case, but in January, a federal appeals court revived part of the case.
Privacy groups in Europe have repeatedly questioned Street View's approach to privacy.
The mapping application has also generated some Internet buzz for presenting the occasional offbeat image.
Last week, the blogosphere lit up when a mysterious man with a horse's head -- dubbed "Horse Boy" -- surfaced on a image from a street in Aberdeen, Scotland. In May 2009, a British man was photographed taking his 10-foot boa for a walk along a quiet Norwich, U.K., street.
But despite the claims of privacy invasion and the peculiar pictures that sometimes pop up on Google's mapping applications, Google Street View, Google Earth and Google Maps have also supplied virtual travelers with a bounty of real and imaginary geographic wonders.
Take a look at a few of them below: