Crowdsourcing: Open Source, or Open Scourge?
The mighty Google suffered the same fate as many open-source content sites (like Wikipedia) suffered in their early days this month, as a user renamed the well-known Theoduer-Huss Square in Berlin after Adolf Hitler on Google Maps. This change made it past a small army of volunteers and a moderator so keen on the change, he didn’t just list “Adolf Hitler Platz” as an alternate name for the location, but the canonical one.
This phenomenon is reminiscent of Mountain Dew’s “Dub the Dew” debacle. Crowdsourcing earned a new green apple flavored drink the suggested names of “Diabeetus,” “Hitler did nothing wrong,” and several variations on the theme of “Gushing Granny.”
Looks like the Goog might have a lesson to learn. For starters, they can set clear boundaries on the user-end side of their application before suggestions including “hot” terms don’t make it to an over-worked moderator in the first place.
Google Maps the Hottest Travel App of 2014:
Though there’s really nothing new about it, a contributor at Forbes Online just picked Google Maps as her #1 travel app for 2014. The reason why might be novel, as it has nothing to do at all with how it normally functions with Internet connectivity, but instead has everything to do with how it functions offline.
Essentially, if a user saves a page of their destination using a Hotel’s wi-fi, they save precious data plan allotments for another day. To the weary, data-poor traveler, this is an unintended functionality that serves as a huge boon.