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OpenStreetMap Reports Data Vandalism From Google-Owned IPs 178

An anonymous reader writes "Following reports of misconduct by Google employees in Kenya and India, It has been found that Google IP addresses have been responsible for deliberate vandalism of OpenStreetMap data. While it is unlikely that this was a deliberate or coordinated attack by Google HQ on the competition, multiple such reports does raise the question of whether or not Google has become too big to effectively enforce its 'Don't be evil' philosophy across its massive organization."
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OpenStreetMap Reports Data Vandalism From Google-Owned IPs

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  • Re:Evil (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nerdfest ( 867930 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @10:52AM (#38724460)
    There's really no money in defacing OpenStreetMaps. With the admitted contracting of an Anti-Google campaign by FaceBook at least, I wouldn't put this past their competition.
  • by Stewie241 ( 1035724 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @11:05AM (#38724652)

    So... just for clarification, does an IP identify somebody? or not?

    I'm fairly certain that when I visited the GooglePlex they had a publically accessible WIFI connection. Do those count as Google owned IPs?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @11:07AM (#38724684)

    One of the blog post authors is Steve Coast from Microsoft Bing Maps. Plus, the OSMF is claiming this post is a personal communication and does not represent the position of their board. So, the whole thing is starting to sound very suspicious.

  • Storm in a teacup (Score:5, Interesting)

    by b0bby ( 201198 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @11:13AM (#38724746)

    As others have pointed out, this seems to be a storm in a teacup. If it leads to more participation in OSM, however, it'll be a good thing. I recently installed the Navfree android app (free onboard maps GPS, there's an IOS version too), and noticed a number of small inaccuracies in my neighborhood. Correcting them was really pretty easy; the maps around me already seem pretty usable, and with a bit more tweaking will be as good as any of the commercial alternatives. When I had first looked at it a couple of years ago the maps around me were pretty dire, so they've come a long way. House numbering seems to be the big remaining issue for navigation system use.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @11:40AM (#38725164)

    Sadly, I'm an anon, so nobody will read this, BUT:

    Google used to have a product called "Google Web Accelerator" which was, essentially, a Google proxy that operated similar to the idea behind Kindle Fire: Make the proxy crunch images and the like to make the browser work faster.

    While using it, I noticed that IP reporting sites would all show that I was coming from Google in Mountain View, CA. ... who's to say that a savvy vandal simply isn't using GWA?

  • "Starting to"? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by UncHellMatt ( 790153 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @11:55AM (#38725382)
    Sorry, but "starting to" suggests Google's recent actions are somehow different or new. Google has been deliberately and willfully evil for years now. If memory serves, Google has revealed the names of Chinese dissidents in the past [wordpress.com] (single citation being used, though going back you do find more), and gleefully gave in to the Chinese government too many times to cite all of them, all in the name of a bit of dosh.

    Why is ANY of this a surprise? Companies that have a great product, a great service, that lose focus on what their foundation is in favor of making money, will always do this, at least every instance I've seen. Even smaller companies. I'll use a local example; Here in the Boston area there is (or I should say "was") a great ice cream store named more or less for the neighborhood it was founded in. The ice cream was, to put it mildly, pure heaven. Even in the dead of winter people flocked to their locations, what they had was just that good. Over the years the quality has gone down considerably in direct proportion to how much the founder began making. Once he got some investment money from other parties, the bottom line became a bigger issue. Employees who had been with him from the first day he'd opened were fired because they looked "different" (it was a haven for artistic, counter culture people back in the 80s and to the mid 90s) and didn't fit in with his new "professional" look. The product they made became just sort of average. Walk into any chain ice cream store, and you'll get the same product. However their profits skyrocketed and they continue to do business not due to the ice cream, but the name.

    Google has become no different. They own the market, and they know it. Rather than focus on doing what they do best, and NOT doing it in an evil way, they what... Release a browser, a (rather sad) OS, they see Facebook take off and using a page from Microsoft's playbook say "Why didn't WE think of that?" and come out with their own, much to the delight of dozens. Now Google is stooping to the same bush league dirty pool that other companies do.

    Is anyone really surprised?

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