Google’s Map Maker service has been under scrutiny of late, there’s been a couple of incidents involving edits which haven’t exactly been legitimate to say the least – including the infamous Bugdroid urinating on the Apple logo a couple of weeks back. Google has now announced that they will be suspending the service from May 12th.
Visitors to the Map Maker site are now being greeted by a pop-up message advising of the suspension.
Pavithra Kanakarajan, Lead the product management of Map Maker team has announced on the Map Maker Google Group that the service will be suspended. Ms Kanakarajan has also advised that steps are being taken to put in place a system that will make sure that inappropriate edits are not let through.
As some of you know already, we have been experiencing escalated attacks to spam Google Maps over the past few months. The most recent incident was particularly troubling and unfortunate – a strong user in our community chose to go and create a large scale prank on the Map. As a consequence, we suspended auto-approval and user moderation across the globe, till we figured out ways to add more intelligent mechanisms to prevent such incidents.
All of our edits are currently going through a manual review process.
We have been analyzing the problem and have made several changes. However, it is becoming clear that fixing some of this is actually going to take longer than a few days. As you can imagine, turning automated and user moderation off has the direct implication of very large backlogs of edits requiring manual review. This in turn means your edits will take a long time to get published.
Given the current state of the system, we have come to the conclusion that it is not fair to any of our users to let them continue to spend time editing. Every edit you make is essentially going to a backlog that is growing very fast. We believe that it is more fair to only say that if we do not have the capacity to review edits at roughly the rate they come in, we have to take a pause.
We have hence decided to temporarily disable editing across all countries starting Tuesday, May 12, 2015, till we have our moderation system back in action. This will be a temporary situation and one that we hope to come out of as soon as possible.
While this is a very difficult, short term decision, we think this will help us get to a better state faster. More importantly, we believe it is simply the right thing to do to all of you, our valued users who continue to edit with the hope that your changes might go live as fast as you’ve been used to.
Pavithra Kanakarajan on behalf of Google Map Maker team
The Map Maker service has been instrumental in keeping Google Maps up to date, with key information being added, but with almost no over-sight, the service is also a source of mis-information and inappropriate (though hilarious) edits as we’ve seen previously. How long the service will be down for isn’t clear but knowing the speed at which Google can move, it hopefully won’t be long.