The official blog for Google Maps
Sorry for our Google Maps search mess up
May 21, 2015
This week, we had some problems with Google Maps, which was displaying results for certain offensive search queries. Like many of you, we were deeply upset by this issue, and we are fixing it now. We apologize this has taken some time to resolve, and want to share more about what we are doing to correct the problem.
At Google, we work hard to bring people the information they are looking for, including information about the physical world through Google Maps. Our ranking systems are designed to return results that match a person’s query. For Maps, this means using content about businesses and other public places from across the web. But this week, we heard about a failure in our system—loud and clear. Certain offensive search terms were triggering unexpected maps results, typically because people had used the offensive term in online discussions of the place. This surfaced inappropriate results that users likely weren’t looking for.
Our team has been working hard to fix this issue. Building upon
a key algorithmic change
we developed for Google Search, we’ve started to update our ranking system to address the majority of these searches—this will gradually roll out globally and we’ll continue to refine our systems over time. Simply put, you shouldn’t see these kinds of results in Google Maps, and we’re taking steps to make sure you don't.
Again, we sincerely apologize for the offense this has caused, and we will do better in the future.
Posted by Jen Fitzpatrick, VP, Engineering & Product Management
Don’t let traffic slow you down this Memorial Day
May 20, 2015
Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer in the U.S., and is a time to pay tribute to service men and women. So whether you’ll be manning the grill or marching in your local parade, you’re probably looking forward to the three-day weekend with your friends and family. The only thing that might slow you down? Traffic: Memorial Day is one of the busiest driving days of the year. Luckily, Google Maps can help you find the best route to your destination with the fewest delays.
And just in time for you to hit the road, we’re updating Google Maps with new traffic alerts to help you avoid jams and get the most out of your holiday weekend. Now when you input your destination, you’ll get an explanation of upcoming traffic conditions that helps you identify the quickest route. While you’re on the road, Google Maps will give you a heads up if congestion lies ahead, and how long you’ll be stuck in a jam. You’ll also get the option to take alternate routes, including explanations for why one is recommended—whether it’s the fastest or avoids an incident.
Top Google Maps Trends
For a glimpse at how people around the country are looking to celebrate Memorial Day, we took a look at the top six trending searches from last year. Turns out that hitting the shore and fueling up for long road trips are common plans for those of you looking to get out and about. For those sticking around home, sprucing up the house seems to be a popular pastime.
Top Google Maps Destination Searches
We also took a look at the top five Google Maps destinations searched in five cities over Memorial Day weekend in 2014. If this Memorial Day is anything like the last, a lot of you will be lacing up your hiking boots, loading up your surfboards or readying your tackle boxes for a trip to one of these outdoor spots:
Whether you plan to join the crowds or avoid them on this long Memorial Day weekend, Google Maps is here to smooth the way.
Posted by Pierre Petronin, Quantitative Analyst & Jen Chen, Product Manager
Set foot on the world’s oldest island with Street View
May 7, 2015
For almost 88 million years, the island of Madagascar has stood off the coast of Southeast Africa.
tropical humid and dry forests
of the interior, home to ring-tailed lemurs
, to the
along the coast, the island is home to some of the most unusual and delicate ecosystems on Earth. Now for the first time, through our
partnership with conservation organization
Department of Water and Forests: University of Antananarivo
, the Madagascar Ministry of Culture, and
Madagascar National Parks
, you can take a virtual journey to Madagascar with Street View in Google Maps.
Walking along the avenues of Western Madagascar, you’ll notice a stand of
. Against the clear skies, these unusual trees look almost unfinished, with thick trunks and sparse canopies.
Avenue of Baobabs in Madagascar
For a bird’s-eye view of the island, stand along the edge of the
. Looking out at the vast, wild landscape, you can see how many different worlds exist on this one island—from the vast mountain peaks to the streaming rivers flowing out into the Indian Ocean.
The cliffs of Karambony
Though beautiful scenery abounds in Madagascar, the country is also facing real challenges
due to the increased demand placed on natural resources
While much of the plant and animal life has remained abundant over the centuries, this incredibly rare biodiversity is increasingly being fragmented by human activities
To shine a spotlight on ongoing conservation efforts,
collected imagery of some of the island's most compelling scenery, including areas where effective conservation is increasingly critical to community livelihoods, climate change preparedness and for safeguarding biodiversity.
Now you can visit the
Mangrove ecosystems along the North coast
as well as
go sailing on a pirogue
40km into the Mozambique Channel to see the remote
Barren Isles archipelago
, the largest community-managed marine conservation area in the Indian Ocean.
Mangrove ecosystems along the North Coast
Whether you want to explore the wild terrain of the island’s landscape or drift down the Sambirano river in a dug-out canoe, we invite you to
virtually explore Madagascar’s spectacular biodiversity
on Google Maps in clear resolution and detail.
And if this Street View tour has inspired you to set foot on the the world’s oldest island in person, take a peek at
adventure resort, where it seems paradise awaits you beneath the rainbow;
or take a look at Velondriake, where you can help make meaningful contributions towards conservation in Madagascar through a Blue Ventures expedition.
Posted by Alex Starns, Street View Technical Program Manager
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