My Google Map Blog

Italy

Google Maps 101: how contributed content makes a more helpful map

by Kevin Reece on Feb.20, 2020, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

Recently, we gave you a behind-the-scenes look at how we map the world and use imagery to capture the meaningful details around us. Now we’re diving into how content contributed by our user community makes Google Maps a more helpful tool for everyday decision making, whether you’re looking for the best burrito in a new city or trying to find a local car mechanic in your neighborhood. 

Contributions create a more helpful map

When we look at the places around us, it’s clear that not all the information we see is online. Store hours get updated, new businesses open and menus rotate.

To ensure that our map reflects the real world, we enable anyone with a Google account to contribute their local knowledge to approximately 200 million points of interest in Google Maps. In fact, everyday people submit more than 20 million contributions to Google Maps, from reviews and ratings to photos, answers to other users' questions, address updates and more. Ultimately, this helps people everywhere make better decisions about where to eat and shop, or things to do and see.

At a new restaurant and don’t know what to order? We can show you the most popular dishes for more than a million restaurants worldwide, made possible by photos and reviews other diners have added to the map. Looking for things to do nearby? In the “Explore” tab you can find recommended lists created by local experts and trusted publishers. 

Hundreds of millions of people each year contribute information that helps keep Google Maps up to date. We recently added a new “Contribute” tab to the app so people can more easily share their local knowledge. Each contribution goes a long way in helping others learn about new places and decide what to do.

Contribute tab in Google Maps

Use the new Contribute tab to easily share your local knowledge on Google Maps

It’s not just personal recommendations people are adding to the map. Each month, community contributions help us update factual information for businesses, roads and addresses around the planet. And thanks to contributions from the global Google Maps community, we’ve been able to add accessibility information, like wheelchair-friendly entrances and restrooms, for more than 50 million places around the planet, helping people with disabilities better navigate and explore their cities.

One of our most passionate groups of contributors is the 120 million Local Guides across 24,000 cities and towns who are committed to making information about their communities on Google Maps more helpful and accurate. See how one of these Local Guides, Adriano Anjos in São Paulo, is making a difference in people's lives by sharing information about blood donation centers on Google Maps:

Local Guide Adriano Anjos contributes information to Google Maps about blood donation centers in his city.

Ensuring the content you see is reliable

Like any platform that welcomes user-generated content, we have to remain vigilant against inappropriate content—the vast majority of which is removed before anyone actually sees it. And as more people contribute to Google Maps, we continue to crack down on the bad actors who violate our policies, using a combination of people and technology to tackle unwelcome content. 

For example, we use automated detection systems, including machine learning models, that scan the millions of contributions we receive each day to detect and remove policy-violating content. In the case of fake reviews, our systems check every single review before it gets published to Google Maps, looking for signs of fake content. Our machine learning models watch out for specific words and phrases, examine patterns in the types of content an account has contributed in the past, and can detect suspicious review patterns. 

While we’re constantly improving our automated systems, we know they’re not perfect as fake reviews can slip through from time to time. So we also deploy teams of trained operators and analysts who audit reviews, photos, business profiles and other types of content both individually and in bulk. And we provide a way for anyone to flag reviews, inappropriate content and misleading places for removal. 

Sorting through the 20 million contributions we receive each day (that’s more than 7 billion contributions a year), in 2019 alone, our technologies and teams:

  • Removed more than 75 million policy-violating reviews and 4 million fake business profiles thanks to refinements in our machine learning models and automated detection systems which are getting better at blocking policy-violating content and detecting anomalies for our operators to review
  • Took down more than 580,000 reviews and 258,000 business profiles that were reported directly to us, as we make it easier for people to flag inappropriate content 
  • Reviewed and removed more than 10 million photos and 3 million videos that violated our content policies, as our operators and automated systems get better at catching policy-violating content, such as off-topic photos
  • Disabled more than 475,000 user accounts as we improve our machine learning detection capabilities and develop expanded policies and training for our operators

The vast majority of contributions made to Google Maps are authentic, with policy-violating content seen less than one percent of the time. And we’ll continue to develop new tools and techniques to fight against bad actors. 

Contributed content is an indispensable part of how we’re making Google Maps richer and more helpful for everyone. With people’s contributions, we’ve been building a truly helpful map that not only gets you from A to B, but also helps you find the places and experiences that are right for you, whether you need to tackle last-minute gift shopping or have a craving for pizza.

Comments Off : more...







One man’s mission to add civil rights history to Google Maps

by Molly on Feb.14, 2020, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

“I think in another life, I would have been a private investigator,” says Paul Kang. The Nashville resident is a paralegal for an immigration law firm, but it’s his hobby as a Local Guide on Google Maps that’s brought out his inner detective, turning him into something of a historian.

Paul and his family moved to Tennessee in 2012, and it was out of necessity that he was first introduced to Google Maps and soon after Local Guides, the community of everyday people who are passionate about sharing their experiences on Google Maps with reviews, photos, videos and more. Their efforts end up making Maps better for everyone. “My wife wanted to know where the post office near her work was, so I looked it up and sent her the map listing,” he says. “And when she went there, she told me it was all closed up.” The post office wasn’t open for business anymore. This sort of thing happened a few more times, and after becoming slightly frustrated, Paul realized he could use Google Maps to edit information. “I started closing things down, replacing duplicate listings,” he says. Eventually, Paul was doing much more than correcting listings. In 2017, the 1955 murder of Emmett Till resurfaced in the news when an interview with the woman who’d accused Till of harassing her—which led her husband and an accomplice to murder Till—admitted it wasn’t true. The tragic, senseless killing of the 14-year-old boy had been a catalyst in the civil rights movement, and the confession reignited interest in the story for Americans everywhere. 

Paul first learned about what happened to Emmett Till when he was a young adult. “I think one of the things I still remember is that the jury acquitted Till’s murderers in 59 minutes, but that they would have [done it] faster if they hadn’t all gone together to get a bottle of pop before rendering the verdict.” 

When he used Google Maps to try and find the site where Till’s body was found, a listing appeared—but didn’t seem like it was in the right spot according to what Paul had read. After using historical resources to learn more about the location, he was able to find it himself on Google Maps—and he decided that everyone else should be able to as well, so he loaded up his wife and kids and started the two-hour road trip south. 

“I just thought, you know what, I’m going to do this, I’m doing to drive my whole family down there,” Paul says. When they got there, he says they discovered a museum dedicated to Emmett Till, but it was only open by appointment--information that hadn’t been listed in Google Maps. Fortunately, the museum was holding an event, and Paul’s family was able to go in. What Paul didn’t realize is how important the experience was for his wife, who was learning about Emmett Till for the first time. “We talked about it as she was going through it. It was shocking to her. It was a big download of information for her, and I know it’s stuck with her and informs her when she’s reading the news today, too.”

Using a 360-degree camera, Paul also took Street View photos of the site where Till’s body was found, and updated the Google Maps data so others can find it. He was even able to find the barn where Till was tortured and added that information to Maps.

Paul's gone on to add more historical information to Google Maps; he thinks he’s added some 50 historic landmarks, give or take. In 2018, for the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, various sites and memorials in Memphis were being constructed. “I waited to see if the city or some nonprofit maybe was going to add them to Google Maps, but I didn’t see anything,” he says. “So I just started adding them.” 

He also made a point to update information about other memorials to Dr. King, including “I Have Been to the Mountaintop,” a sculpture unveiled in 1976 that was moved to a more prominent part of downtown Memphis. I AM A MAN plaza, an open air installation that opened in 2018 and dedicated to the sanitation workers’ strike of 1968, also wasn’t on Google Maps; Paul made sure both of these sites would surface, complete with historic information. Once when he went to take photos for Street View with his 360-degree camera, a few police officers acting as security at a site asked what he was doing. “I was like, ‘I’m making sure this gets on Google Maps, so people can find it!’” 

News archives and web research power Paul’s exploration of the history of his new state and  he says there’s work to be done to make sure this information remains accessible for future generations. “A lot of the websites cataloging information about these kinds of places with descriptions and photos are volunteer-led,” he says. “What if they decide not to or forget to renew their domain? Those websites could go away.”

Fortunately, Paul’s work won’t be going anywhere. “Even if all these websites go away, Google Maps will still be here.”

Comments Off :, more...



Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!

Visit our friends!

A few highly recommended friends...