Flooded by edit requests, Google has temporarily banned users from making changes to its Maps application, after a giant Android urinating on the Apple logo was drawn over Pakistan.
Starting 12 May, users who had previously been able to made edits to the search giant's maps – and which were often automatically approved – will no longer be able to do so. The company switched its edit review process to manual right after the defacing incident, but was soon unable to keep up with the flood of submitted changes.
In a post on Google's product forums, Pavithra Kanakarajan, on behalf of the Map Maker team, said: "We have come to the conclusion that it is not fair to any of our users to let them continue to spend time editing. Every edit you make is essentially going to a backlog that is growing very fast... We have hence decided to temporarily disable editing across all countries."
The situation was described as "temporary" and one which Google "hopes to come out of as soon as possible...While this is a very difficult, short term decision, we think this will help us get to a better state faster."
Kanakarajan described the incident, where a giant Android logo was drawn urinating on the Apple sign over the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi, as "particularly troubling and unfortunate". Soon after the incident – and to highlight how easily Google Map Maker could be vandalised – another user wrote "Google review policy is crap" into a space of open ground a few miles from the original defacing.
Google expects its edit review shortcomings will "take longer than a few days" to fix, so had no other choice than to completely stop users from making changes, no matter how much experience and positive feedback it had accumulated from the community.
Although there is no indication that the urinating Android incident was the work of either company, Apple and Google have had a number of high-profile spats in recent years, highlighted most acutely when Steve Jobs was quoted in his biography as saying he would go "thermonuclear over Android". Jobs believed Google had stolen Apple's intellectual property relating to its iOS iPhone software.