Google suspends Map Maker service post 'Android peeing' fiasco

Not long since Google Maps became synonymous with peals of laughter after one of their 'long term users' used the Map Maker feature to place an Android robot peeing on an Apple logo in Pakistan, Google has decided to suspend its Map Maker service citing issues with its 'manual review process.'

Thousands of users can make changes and add features in Google maps service through the Map Maker which then go through a manual review process to ensure compliance. However, edits by long term users are hardly moderated, a fact that was brutally exposed by one such user.

“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," said Pavithra Kanakarajan, a Google Map Maker product manager.

“All of our edits are currently going through a manual review process,” she added.

Google contends that the total number of edits being made on the Map Maker is huge, something that is currently impossible to review manually.

“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,” Kanakarajan said.

While Google's intent to protect its review policy and the content made available on the Maps service is laudable, we are yet to hear about any fixed timelines on how soon the Map Maker will be back in action. 

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