Tech giant shuts down Map tool after repeated hacks

The online tool has allowed people in countries without detailed maps to add various details and points of interest to Google Maps for years.

The hack showing the Android urinating on the Apple logo.

After repeated spam attacks and some obscene edits, Google is temporarily taking its crowdsourced map editing tool Map Maker offline.

The online tool has allowed people in countries without detailed maps to add various details and points of interest to Google Maps for years.

In recent times, however, the tool has been used by some users to upload inappropriate content to Google Maps – the recent one which featured the Android bot urinating on the Apple logo readily comes to mind.

In April, Google had said that it was working on improving its spam detection system for Map Maker but that doesn’t seem to be enough.

Google has therefore decided to shut down access to the system entirely from today May 12, according to a message that pops when you try to make use of Map Maker. The message links to a lengthier message from Product Manager Pavithra Kanakarajan confirming that the decision to shut the project down temporarily is directly related to the “escalated attacks to spam Google Maps over the past few months.”

She says the most recent attack (the one with the android urinating) was “particularly troubling and unfortunate”, and that Google has decided to suspend auto-approval and user moderation across the entire world.

This will remain the status quo until Google finds ways to add “more intelligent mechanisms to prevent such incidents,” Kanakarajan adds.

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