Google has suspended the use of Map Maker, the service allowing users to submit changes and additions to Google Maps, after a prank resulting in a park that was shaped like an Android robot peeing on an Apple logo.
The Android robot incident is one of a number of recent pranks pulled on Google Maps. Unfortunately, Map Maker is one way that Google Maps remains completely up to date.
"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 (sic) out ways to add more intelligent mechanisms to prevent such incidents," said Pavithra Kanakarajan, a Google Maps spokesperson.
Thankfully, it seems as though the changes to the Map Maker editing process will not be permanent, with Google instead opting to re-establish its manual moderation process. What this means is that users who submit changes to Google Maps will have to go through manual moderation by the team at Google. While this will cause a longer time until submissions are posted, it will help avoid any embarrassing slip-ups like the one from last month.
"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," continued Kanakarajan.
Map Maker itself is a Web-based program that allows users to edit Google Maps and includes tools for parks, railways, roads, bike paths and so on.
Now that things might be a little slower when it comes to additions to Google Maps, it is likely that the company will be looking for other ways to keep Maps as up to date as possible. Google Maps has long been hailed as a favorite when it comes to mapping, and remaining up to date means that users who are driving, for example, will not experience any unexpected roadwork or new roads.
Google Maps is not the only mapping software available, with Apple having its own maps program and Nokia offering Nokia HERE Maps. Both of these two programs are tiny when it comes to popularity against the likes of Google Maps, however, if Google does drop the ball on keeping Maps up to date, other programs could become user favorites.