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These Google Maps glitches are the stuff of nightmares

Kyle Williams via Google Maps
“No Face Detected,” originally uploaded by Fran González.
  • Kate Groetzinger
By Kate Groetzinger

Ideas fellow

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

One afternoon not long ago, US artist Kyle Williams was leisurely looking through Google Street view for inspiration, when he came across a sight he’d never seen before: a girl with a leg coming out of her chest. He quickly took a screen shot and began looking for more.

“I was looking for record stores in France on Google Street View, just to see what they looked like from the outside and to virtually troll around the neighborhood, people watch, screen grab anything interesting that popped up,” he tells Quartz.

“I eventually ended up on a beach in Nice and started clicking around on the little blue circles that indicated that a 360° Photo Sphere was available.” He clicked on one, and was met with this startling view.

Kyle Williams via Google Maps
“Clusterfuck,” originally uploaded by Jerome Favre.

“I spent a total of about 8 hours searching over a few days and found about 20 scenes that I really liked,” Williams tells Quartz.

He says the trick to quickly finding these images, which are a result of glitches in the way Google Maps stitches together the 360° image sets submitted by users, is to look in crowded areas.

Williams found a lonely pair of feet in New York City’s Grand Central Terminal, below.

Kyle Williams via Google Maps
“Jordans,” originally uploaded by Colin Redbond.

Williams found a man with an arm coming out of his face at one scenic lookout spot.

Kyle Williams via Google Maps
“Fist Face,” originally uploaded by Leon Johnson.

And this man trying to take a selfie without a face.

Kyle Williams via Google Maps
“No Face Detected,” originally uploaded by Fran González.

The headless man trend continues with this guy Williams found standing on the steps of a museum.

Kyle Williams via Google Maps
“Headless Man Hit By Pigeon,” originally uploaded by Julian Hoffbauer.

“You could go to the map of a super busy touristy part of any major city and find of bunch of these Photo Spheres with tons of people glitched together, evaporating into the background, tangled into a mess, but I like finding the quieter ones,” he tells Quartz.

His favorite image depicts a woman who appears to be sleeping while slipping beneath the pebbled shore.

Kyle Williams via Google Maps
“Snoozing On Stones,” originally uploaded by Quentin Dubedat.

“This was one of the first pictures I found while I was searching around France and it’s probably the most intimate,” Williams says. “The goosebumps, and the iPhone, and the missing head, so close-up and in focus. It’s really weird.”

Williams says beaches make for his favorite glitch shots. They tend to be moderately crowded and well-photographed, and the sandy background creates a nice color palette, he says.

Williams found this frightening mashup of a woman taking a picture and another woman sunning herself on a beach.

Kyle Williams via Google Maps
“Short Stuff,” originally uploaded by João Faraco.

And then there’s this woman who seems to be slowly disappearing while holding a beer in each hand.

Kyle Williams via Google Maps
“Two Beers And Half A Lady,” originally uploaded by Mihaly Matrai.

Williams even found a two-headed dog on one beach.

Kyle Williams via Google Maps
“Double-Headed Doggie,” originally uploaded by Bob Spaziano.

And a zombie limb growing out of another.

Kyle Williams via Google Maps
“Zombie Hand,” originally uploaded by Adalberto Menardi.

Williams is split on whether or not he considers the images to be art. Right now, he is just gathering them up for fun.

“They’re not mine,” he tells Quartz. “Someone else’s camera took the shots and uploaded them, maybe not even noticing that a portion of it was all tweaked out. I’m just stealing my favorite part from someone else’s picture and presenting it with others that are similar. Though having said that, I think a six foot wide oil-painted version of almost any of these would look great on a wall.”

If anyone is inspired by Williams’ suggestion, I nominate this one.

Kyle Williams via Google Maps
“Legend,” originally uploaded by Arthur Star.

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

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