Google's reach often feels ubiquitous, but even a $500 billion tech company can have trouble getting to every single corner of the Earth. Consequently, the search giant is making it easier for users to lend a helping hand, adding new tools to Google Maps for contributing and verifying map data. Users can add businesses that don't appear in Google's data, or editing info about existing entries. Is Jimmy Jack's Shrimp Shack a high-end seafood eatery, or just a dive bar with a fish tank in the corner? Google wants to know.
users can suggest info and vet suggestions from others
Using Google Maps on desktop, Android, or iOS, users can add information and also verify edits from others. Businesses with pending details will appear with a notification stating "Someone suggested new info." Users can click or tap that notification and reject or approve the suggestion. "Once enough votes are received to be confident that the suggestion is accurate, it’s published to the map," says Google, noting that this verification process only works for Android Google Maps users, and mobile search on Android and iOS.
Screenshots from the Android Maps app showing how to suggest and verify edits.
Google isn't going into any detail about the verification process though, and doesn't explain whether they'll be any official oversight from human curators — or how many votes it takes for information to be approved. It's probably fine for Google to automate part of this process, but the company would do well to remember the Android-robot-urinating-on-an-Apple-logo debacle; an image that showed up in Google Maps because of the lack of human oversight.