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Google Maps wants you to help check user-submitted info

Engadget Engadget 15/06/2016 Cherlynn Low
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Google's Maps team doesn't have all day to go around checking that the information people submit about locations is accurate, so it's turning to you to share that responsibility. Some folks have been seeing a new feature that asks for input on whether a user suggestion is correct.

The feature has been said to be coming ever since Android Police found snippets of code in an April app update that hinted at an upcoming user-feedback tool. But it didn't go live until about a couple of weeks ago, according to Android Police, and it's not clear if it's available to everyone yet.

Based on screenshots obtained by Android Police, the user-submitted changes will show up in a place's card in orange, with the words, "Someone suggested new info." Tapping that brings up a panel with the original data and the suggested change, and you're asked to select the correct version. You can also hit "Not sure" if you don't know what's right, or "Call place to verify" if you have time and unlimited minutes at your disposal.

Google has already handed the responsibility of verifying local information off to what it calls Regional Leads -- volunteers who know an area well -- to review tweaks made to its Map Maker tool before they show up on Maps. But that could slow down the process of ensuring the map is up to date with accurate new information.

This new method could make it faster and easier to confirm (or refute) changes made to Maps, and prevent future cases of digital vandalism. Of course, this still depends on whether the general public can be trusted to responsibly vet tweaks. It's not clear if there will be a tier of trusted editors to manage crowd edits a la Wikipedia. We'll have to wait for an official Google announcement or wider scale implementation to see if there will be more comprehensive measures in place to prevent mischief.

Android Police

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