On Friday, checking Google Maps from Pakistan might have come with an unintended and rude Easter egg: the mascot for Google-owned Android peeing on the logo of its rival operating system provider, Apple.
It is no secret that Android and Apple’s iOS are archenemies in the game of mobile providers – but Google claims it didn’t include this offensive image on purpose in their maps. Variations of the image are rather popular, mostly created by passionate Android fan boys denigrating Apple’s products.
If you’re wondering how this could’ve happened without official approval, it’s pretty easy. Map Leaker is one of Google Maps’ features that allows users from all around the globe to chime in and update the existing data on different locations.
The Map Leaker is intended as a useful tool, so the company can keep up to date with the ever-changing infrastructure by relying on local information. In theory, any changes need to be reviewed by fellow users of the feature and then approved by a moderation team.
However, Google has apparently failed in micromanaging this potentially-dangerous service and some things have slipped by their scrutiny – this image being clear evidence.
Google is not sure how long since the images have been made public, but the company’s spokeswoman, Mara Harris, said they are doing their best to remove them. In the same e-mail, she stated that Google apologizes for the “inappropriate user-created content”, and quick removal is top priority.
Although most users who contribute as editors to Google Maps are usually more behaved, Harris added that such incidents are a source of learning for Google staff, who use them as insights into how detection and prevention can be improved –as well as removing the bad edits that sometimes end up being made public.
It’s not the first incident when Google Maps has been the target of pranksters; Edward Snowden was listed as in the White House under the name of “Edwards Snow Den”. The author apparently made a reference to the former National Security Agency contractor who made public some sensitive information from government surveillance programs last year.
While the openness of Google Maps can be of tremendous help for its users, it can also have dire consequences.
At one time, according to Valley Wag, security researcher Bryan Seely could intercept and record calls with Secret Service and the FBI by simply changing the number listed for the office locations in the product. Google should somehow update its policies to make Google Maps more secure.
Image Source: PC Mag
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