Google Maps has been experiencing a ton of issues lately. A couple of weeks ago, a “clever” Google Maps user submitted an image of the Android mascot peeing on an Apple logo, which forced Google to shut down editing in the Map Maker program to ensure it wouldn’t happen again. The Google Maps team apologized for the incident, and we all moved on. Then just a few days ago, users discovered that typing an offensive term into Maps would bring you straight to the White House. Obviously this isn’t okay, and Google knows it.
The company has just released a sincere apology for the most recent mishap, and explains that it’s taking great steps to ensure slip ups like this won’t happen again. Jen Fitzpatrick, Vice President of Engineering & Product Management at Google explains:
At Google, we work hard to bring people the information they are looking for, including information about the physical world through Google Maps. Our ranking systems are designed to return results that match a person’s query. For Maps, this means using content about businesses and other public places from across the web. But this week, we heard about a failure in our system—loud and clear. Certain offensive search terms were triggering unexpected maps results, typically because people had used the offensive term in online discussions of the place. This surfaced inappropriate results that users likely weren’t looking for.
Google says that it’s started to update its ranking system to address the majority of these errors, and that the fixes will roll out to users overtime.