Google Maps gets its Georgia’s mixed up


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By Mark O’Neill
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

This will probably go down in journalism history as one of the classics and Google will never live this down.  Plus you’ve probably still got the crazies in Georgia, USA hiding in the bushes with their shotguns waiting for the Russian tanks to come rumbling past muttering to themselves “that Google map thingie said they were coming!  Gotta stay vigilant!”

Google Maps, when used in an Associated Press Report about the Georgia conflict (that’s the Georgia near Russia), got mixed up and decided to use Georgia in the United States instead.    Therefore, the story ended up looking like this :

General confusion reigned.   One USA Georgia resident got worked up and posted a question on Yahoo Answers asking where the tanks were.   Even today, if you put “Russians invade Georgia” into Google Maps, you’ll get this.

But Google shouldn’t be too embarrassed.   UK’s Sky News made exactly the same mistake.    Be sure to check out their disclaimer at the bottom :

So if you’re living in Georgia, you’d best pack and start heading for the border!    According to Google and Wikipedia, you’re about to be visited by the Russian Army!







30 Responses to Google Maps gets its Georgia’s mixed up

  1. ………next thing you know, 3 million Americans will have been abducted by Alien "Ruskies".

    "Hey ma, the Ruskies are right here in the US of A, we'll have to give even more taxpayers money to the military government so they can kill them………and the aliens".

    A mistake, or a good reason to kindle the "reds under the beds" paranoia? At the very least, it shows first-hand what a very real effect the news-media has on the public.

    I wonder how many people will pay heed to this? People like Jake………I doubt it very much.

    What about the justice for the hundreds of murdered children in Beslan in 2004: That is, if you can find it on the map near Georgia.

    http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&tab=wl

    The death toll from 330 or more dead hostages included 186 children – The world press tries to avoid this issue by calling them students. Does this sound like the same Georgia in America?

    http://public.fotki.com/yartsev/beslan_tragedy_-/

    http://www.moscowhelp.org/en/index.html

    Ok, that's my relative morning rant. :-/

  2. You can’t hold Google or Wikipedia accountable for what other people search for. Like in the second example Sky News obviously have either an automated function to search for background info on wikipedia, or some intern is doing it. Either way Sky News didn’t check that they got the right article. Same with the google thing – Google Maps can of course not differentiate between the two places unless you specify which one you mean. If AP or whatever news publication used the search didn’t bother to check that they got the right one, then that doesn’t reflect badly on Google, but on AP.

  3. You can’t hold Google or Wikipedia accountable for what other people search for. Like in the second example Sky News obviously have either an automated function to search for background info on wikipedia, or some intern is doing it. Either way Sky News didn’t check that they got the right article. Same with the google thing – Google Maps can of course not differentiate between the two places unless you specify which one you mean. If AP or whatever news publication used the search didn’t bother to check that they got the right one, then that doesn’t reflect badly on Google, but on AP.

    • I agree, the ones to blame are not Google or Wikipedia, but the AP, and Sky News copy writers for not double checking which Georgia they pasted in their articles.

  4. You can't hold Google or Wikipedia accountable for what other people search for. Like in the second example Sky News obviously have either an automated function to search for background info on wikipedia, or some intern is doing it. Either way Sky News didn't check that they got the right article. Same with the google thing – Google Maps can of course not differentiate between the two places unless you specify which one you mean. If AP or whatever news publication used the search didn't bother to check that they got the right one, then that doesn't reflect badly on Google, but on AP.

    • I agree, the ones to blame are not Google or Wikipedia, but the AP, and Sky News copy writers for not double checking which Georgia they pasted in their articles.

  5. ………next thing you know, 3 million Americans will have been abducted by Alien "Ruskies".

    "Hey ma, the Ruskies are right here in the US of A, we'll have to give even more taxpayers money to the military government so they can kill them………and the aliens".

    A mistake, or a good reason to kindle the "reds under the beds" paranoia? At the very least, it shows first-hand what a very real effect the news-media has on the public.

    I wonder how many people will pay heed to this? People like Jake………I doubt it very much.

    What about the justice for the hundreds of murdered children in Beslan in 2004: That is, if you can find it on the map near Georgia.

    http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&tab=wl

    The death toll from 330 or more dead hostages included 186 children – The world press tries to avoid this issue by calling them students. Does this sound like the same Georgia in America?

    http://public.fotki.com/yartsev/beslan_tragedy_-/

    http://www.moscowhelp.org/en/index.html

    Ok, that's my relative morning rant. :-/

  6. Mark O’Neill: “So if you’re living in Georgia, you’d best pack and start heading for the border! According to Google and Wikipedia, you’re about to be visited by the Russian Army!”

    Uh, Mark, that won’t happen. All jesting aside, this is one reason we have the second amendment. In a country as heavily armed as the United States, no foreign invader would stand a chance. So, bring ‘em on!

  7. Mark O’Neill: "So if you’re living in Georgia, you’d best pack and start heading for the border! According to Google and Wikipedia, you’re about to be visited by the Russian Army!"

    Uh, Mark, that won't happen. All jesting aside, this is one reason we have the second amendment. In a country as heavily armed as the United States, no foreign invader would stand a chance. So, bring 'em on!