Google’s Map Maker has been getting hit hard with spam over the last few months, with one of the most recent and widely publicized incidents involving an Android logo urinating on an Apple logo in the middle of Pakistan. Now, the company is telling users of the Map Maker website that the service will be temporarily shut down as of tomorrow, May 12th…
Google sent an apology to The Washington Post following the urinating Android mishap, saying that the company was “constantly improving how [it] detects, prevents and handles bad edits.” The company then moved Map Maker to a manual review process that requires all Map edits to be manually approved, but Google says that resulted in a very large backlog of changes awaiting approval.
The company’s plan to better figure out a way to handle spam apparently didn’t work out as it hoped it would, as Google has now come out to say that they’re going to shut down Map Maker completely until the moderation system is “back in action.” The company says that this is a “difficult, short term decision,” however, that will hopefully bring Map Maker back in its full form faster.
Here’s the full post from Google’s Pavithra Kanakarajan on the company’s Product Forums:
Hello Mappers,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.Thanks,Pavithra Kanakarajan on behalf of Google Map Maker team