Google has announced it is temporarily removing Google Maps users' ability to edit and annotate because of the recent acts of users abusing the privilege.
The company has suspended the Map Maker tool indefinitely following a host of incidents, one of which saw Google temporarily blamed for an Android robot urinating on an Apple logo, depicted over Pakistan.
Much to Google’s embarrassment it was forced to explain that a community editor had pulled the prank. The vandalism has ‘escalated’ recently and Google says ability to edit and moderate maps is temporarily coming down while it figures out the best way forward.
“As some of you know already, we have been experiencing escalated attacks to spam Google Maps over the past few months,” wrote Pavithra Kanakarajan on behalf of the Google Map Maker team (via Engadget).
“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.”
The company now plans to introduce new moderation methods in order to avoid a repeat of the incidences of vandalism.
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The editing feature will cease to be available across all countries from tomorrow, with no word yet on when it’ll be available again.
“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,” Ms. Kanakarajan wrote.