Google is no stranger to controversial products. The Google Glass was criticized for being a privacy nightmare made real and Google’s self-driving cars still continue to be a topic for lawmakers and regulators. As far as web services are concerned, however, it was perhaps Map Maker that garnered the most flak last year, leading to its suspension and very slow return. Well, no more, as Google finally decreed that Map Maker will be no more starting next year. Most functionality will, instead be transferred to Google Maps itself.
Google calls it a graduation. We call it a retirement. Map Maker has actually been around for quite a while. But it was only last year that it reached stardom, though not in a good way. Thanks to a prank that showed the Android robot mascot peeing on the Apple logo, Google realized how out of hand Map Maker has been. It shut the service down in May and only resurrected it little by little in August.
Map Maker was aimed to basically be like a Wikipedia for Google Maps, allowing anyone and everyone to add markers, correct misinformation, and place annotations that would eventually be seen in the public Google Maps. Like any such open, collaborative platform, it relied on the community to police each other. The system worked for Wikipedia and other such platforms. Not so much for Map Maker.
If you loved Map Maker, you’ll be pleased to know that its spirit will live on, and you won’t have to stray away from Google Maps to feel its ghost. The main app, both on desktop and mobile, already has features like adding a place and editing information. It also allows users to moderate such edits.
If on the other hand, you fell in love with Map Maker’s collaborative spirit, that also survives, albeit in a different form. Google invites interested users to join its Local Guides program, where actions earn points to unlock rewards. Hopefully, though, we won’t be seeing anymore peeing robots.