It’s one thing to see pictures of Android mascots urinating or references to Edward Snowden on Google Maps, it’s quite another to see it used as a tool of racism. That’s what happened this afternoon as selected racist queries on Google Maps point to the Obama White House. The story comes from several sources but is laid out in the Washington Post. I couldn’t reproduce the all the results being discussed but when I searched on “n— king, Washington DC” the White House is the result. Apologizing for the recent spate of problems, but especially this one, Google offered the following official comment: Some inappropriate results are surfacing in Google Maps that should not be, and we apologize for any offense this may have caused. Our teams are working to fix this issue quickly. Google had previously shut down Map Maker to try and prevent just these sorts of problems and mapspam from arising. But these examples are not related to Map Maker, Google … [Read more...] about Google Maps Lists The White House & Howard University For Racists Terms
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Google has reacted to how racist searches can bring up the White House and other locations by promising to extend its “Googlebomb” protection to Google Maps. Google has apologized for the situation and promised a fix is on the way. From its blog post today: This week, we had some problems with Google Maps, which was displaying results for certain offensive search queries. Like many of you, we were deeply upset by this issue, and we are fixing it now. We apologize this has taken some time to resolve, and want to share more about what we are doing to correct the problem. The Racist Listings The problem attracted attention this week after it was discovered that searching for “n–ga house” would bring up the White House on Google Maps: A similar problem hit Howard University, a historic and predominantly Black college. However, the problem wasn’t just restricted to prominent places in the Washington DC area nor slurs against Blacks. Racist Listings In … [Read more...] about Google To Implement Googlebomb Fix To Prevent Racist Listings In Google Maps
I used to think that locksmithing was the industry with the highest percentage of fake local listings on Google. I’m starting to think I was wrong. It all started a few weeks ago, when I was talking to Dev Basu at Powered By Search. He was asking me why businesses in Mississauga were showing up in the 3-pack when you did a search for “Toronto SEO.” After all, there are tons of great, well-known SEO companies in Toronto (including his and the one I work for), and shouldn’t these have priority over ones that aren’t even in the same city that was searched? Why were the results all businesses outside Toronto? When I started to investigate, I found that Google was pulling listings from Mississauga because of all the fake listings that SEO companies had created. These fake listings had their business name set up with a bunch of keywords as the title. Yes, unfortunately, this strategy works. Here is a screen shot that shows how the local results looked before I … [Read more...] about Please stop spamming Google Maps!
When checking into places on Google Maps, you may have noticed that Google prompts you to volunteer information about the place you’re visiting. For instance, if you check into a restaurant, you might be asked whether the establishment has a wheelchair-accessible entrance or whether the location offers takeout. There’s a reason Google wants to know: attributes. Attributes consist of descriptive content such as the services a business provides, payment methods accepted or the availability of free parking — details that may not apply to all businesses. Attributes are important because they can influence someone’s decision to visit you. Google wants to set itself up as a go-to destination of rich, descriptive content about locations, which is why it crowdsources business attributes. But it’s not the only publisher doing so. For instance, if you publish a review on TripAdvisor or Yelp, you’ll be asked a similar battery of questions but with more details, … [Read more...] about Why Google is mining local business attributes
Google’s Map Maker has often received bad press due to the amount of spam that originates from users of the product. In May of 2015, Map Maker was actually shut down to help prevent disasters like this one. So Google’s announcement that they’re shutting down Map Maker entirely in March of 2017 made a lot of people really happy. It’s the end of spam, right? We should all be celebrating, right? Nothing could be further from the truth. Allowing spammers to hide rather than vanquishing them The truth is that users — some with less-than-virtuous motives — will still be able to make edits to business listings, just like before. Instead of doing it on Map Maker, however, they will do it through Google Maps by pressing “suggest an edit” on the listing. Spammers know this, of course, and have already shifted the majority of their edits to Google Maps because it hides their activity from the general public. Currently, when a user makes an edit to a … [Read more...] about Why Google shutting down Map Maker should terrify SMBs