Woman Sues Google Faulty Maps
Posted 01 June 2010 - 02:31 PM
I think that the US should adopt the litigation rule.... "If you try to sue somebody and lose you have to pay all of their costs." That would put an end to fishing expedition lawsuits.
Posted 01 June 2010 - 03:05 PM
I don't know about suing Google for this...it seems like a stretch. On the other hand, if I was a high level employee at Google, I would feel so badly that my product had caused a woman to walk in a dangerous place and get hit by car, I would be paying all of her doctor bills and sending her a very large bouquet of flowers. I don't know how badly the woman was injured, but I feel sorry and concerned for her.
I've read some unfeeling comments over on Danny's article about this - people suggesting the woman is an idiot for trusting the directions. What if the woman was a friend of theirs? What if she was totally lost in that part of town? What if she was elderly, had poor vision, or, yes, was mentally handicapped? Clearly she did trust the directions, for whatever reason, and as a society, Americans are taught to rely on the accuracy of professionally published Maps.
While I don't quite feel settled about the correctness of suing Google, Google's lack of professionalism in their mapping product has again come to the fore here. As a person who closely follows the Maps story, this strikes me as yet another incident of Google's failure to take their own product seriously enough. There have been multiple incidents involving incorrect Google mapping data and medical scenarios (patients getting lost trying to find hospitals and doctors). Because of the seriousness with which we take mapped data, the public is treating Google Maps seriously, but ongoing problems in data aggregation, understaffing and lack of accessibility to the public will only continue to result in these types of failures and accidents.
Posted 01 June 2010 - 05:20 PM
Driving directions via phone seem dangerous to me. They should come prefaced by a warning screen.
Walking directions via cell -- dodgy, but not as out and out dangerous.
Purely anecdotal -- I've been stopped on the street and asked for directions by people who are trying to understand directions given via a map they'd called up on a cell. Once was at a bus depot, feet away from a detailed map that could have solved their problems. They were so focused on the cell that they didn't see the answers in front of them, or think to ask the driver or the info booth person. Maybe something is lost in translation. We expect information to work, but it may not be complete, and our brains may not make the transition from cell to 3d.
Posted 01 June 2010 - 05:32 PM
It could be "Woman sues Budweiser for getting drunk and falling in front of car" or "Woman sues Raybands for making everything a bit dark"
I mean, "Lauren Rosenberg claims she was led onto a busy highway, where she was struck by a vehicle. ". That is just dumb. If she was blind and Google stated that they give guaranteed directions to blind people, then yeah, sue them, but she just walked across a busy road. If it was not a publicity stunt then she is just dumb. There is even a warning on the map. But surely everyone knows that if you walk along a busy road you may get hit?
One word for a person like that, Lemming.
No, 2 words, Dumb Lemming.
Posted 02 June 2010 - 11:36 AM
On one hand I'm with Miriam with regard to the level of mistakes that accompany Google Maps. Did the mistakes in Google's mapping warrent a lawsuit? I don't know. But web based mapping is significantly inferior to the old paper maps. Its getting better. It has a ways to go. Its simply not a great product nor is it one that merits complete trust in its information.
Its pretty astounding but the loss of quality mapping via the transformation in usage from paper maps to web based maps is a story that hasn't been reported.
Posted 03 June 2010 - 08:21 AM
I think Danny does a fine job in analyzing GM quality, especially in his other bike directions post on Daggle (his GM link itself even has a comparison to the real bike route and what GM suggested).
I don't think it's surprising typical reporters didn't report any GM quality mistakes, if they aren't experts in GM products. They were chasing the hot story, not some geek stuff about a huge enterprise providing bogus service.
Edited by A.N.Onym, 03 June 2010 - 09:57 AM.
Posted 03 June 2010 - 09:24 AM
As a result it has been replete with errors for years. Its accuracy is probably improving, but it simply hasn't been as reliable a product as were (US based) commercial street maps.
Maybe nothing is real good or current now. The print mapmakers have been losing money for years as the web mapping technology grows in popularity and usage.
Now noone puts the effort into quality and accuracy. One of google's main mechanism's for improving maps is to currently rely on volunteers. Its doing this because the entire process for mapping and quality assurance is expensive with personnel.
G maps is improving. Is it good enough for complete reliability? I doubt it.
Should Google have been sued in this case? I don't know. I do know I wouldn't put full trust into any web based mapping product yet.
Posted 03 June 2010 - 09:55 AM
But even without that there, surely they could not be sued. They are not instructing anybody to do anything, just providing a service, and a suggestion, on what you could do.
Also, this disclaimer is there now:
"These directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, weather, or other events may cause conditions to differ from the map results, and you should plan your route accordingly. You must obey all signs or notices regarding your route."
Not sure if it is visible on Blackberry. Maybe she should be suing blackberry?
Posted 03 June 2010 - 11:10 AM
Speaking of which, our local city map provider provides software with maps for several major cities of the region with:
- precise, updated roads
- building numbers
- a list of organizations in the building
- public transport routes and an option to find the best one even with transfers
They earn from ads that are displayed in the program. But even at this level, salaries at the company are below average.
It is doable, even for a digital map, but it really isn't scalable or requires huge efforts. I believe Google can handle it, if it further improves its quality assurance and really delivers on the topic, since given its current quality and that GM bankrupt quality map providers, the situation, as you said, is pretty grim.
Posted 03 June 2010 - 11:19 AM
I imagine the extra human editors they have recently taken on will only look at the major outbursts from users and they will just apply fixes. If they really want to be in the mapping business, then they must take a serious review of what that requires in resources.
As a business, they should look strategically at their portfolio and focus on what they can do well. Instead they often seem to approach their
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