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Google temporarily shuts the doors on its map-editing tool

Remember when a Google Maps user uploaded an image of an Android mascot peeing all over an Apple logo? Well thanks to a couple of spammers, Google has temporarily shut the doors down on its map maker service.

Google maps policy

Thanks to a couple of mischievous pranksters, Google is temporarily shutting its doors on its map-editing tool, Map Maker, due to an influx of instances where users were flooding the service with inappropriate images.

If you missed the news a couple of weeks ago, one user made an edit that displayed an Android mascot relieving himself all over an Apple logo. If you need a quick refresher, you can find the image below:

Android peeing on apple

As you could probably imagine, this wasn’t the first and last instance this modern-day graffiti would make an appearance on Map Maker. Apparently shit has gotten so real, the company had to shut down the doors entirely on its map editing service, all in hopes of driving the trolls away.

If you were to head on over to Map Maker’s homepage now, a pop-up window appears notifying you that the service will be unavailable beginning May 12.

Android map maker

When clicking through the “Learn More” button, Pavithra Kanakarajan, a member of the Google Map Maker team posted this in response to the service temporarily shutting down:

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.

Until then, spammers and trolls will have to wait until the service is back up. However, getting their images approved might prove to be difficult.

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Kevin is KnowTechie's founder and executive editor. With over 15 years of blogging experience in the tech industry, Kevin has transformed what was once a passion project into a full-blown tech news publication. Shoot him an email at or find him on Mastodon or Post.

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