Google temporarily disables map editing tool ‘Map Maker’

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Google has announced it has temporarily shut down its maps editor, Map Maker, until it comes up with a solution to take on offensive edits.

The search giant’s decision follows a recent incident which saw Google temporarily blamed for an Android robot urinating on an Apple logo, depicted over Pakistan. The edit was made using Google’s Map Maker tool which lets any user add and update map information in Google Maps and Google Earth.

“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.

“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.”

According to Kanakarajan, Google immediately rectified the Android robot prank and went on to suspend the automated edit approval process. However, shifting to manual reviews, which generally take more time to conduct, has resulted in a backlog of proposed map modifications. So, it has decided to temporarily disable the map editing tool.

The tech giant has not mentioned a specific date for the end of the new method but it did say that it will hopefully bring Map Maker back in its full form soon.

“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,” the blog post noted.