Google has revoked the right for users to edit and update the content of its Maps after some ne’er do wells decided to deface them with racial slurs and offensive images.
Readers, believe us when we say, we’re just as surprised as you that giving people free rein to do whatever they like with a publicly accessible internet service has backfired so spectacularly. And, yes, that was Downtime’s attempt at sarcasm.
Up until very recently, anyone who used Google Maps to locate the Pakistani city of Rawlpindi would have been presented with a picture of an Android robot urinating on a crudely drawn depiction of the Apple logo.
More alarmingly, perhaps, was the other revelation this week that typing a well-known, but thankfully not widely-used, racist term into the software would return a listing for the US President’s home.
Google has since assured users the latter search result is in the process of being removed. But the most shocking thing about this whole sorry tale is that the search giant – who prides itself on being able to pre-empt what users might want to search for with its auto fill tools – never saw this coming.