Navigator Chris Anderson describes the battle over Google Maps in the latest episode of Mashable’s podcast, “Navigator.”
Anderson says, “I’m sitting in a conference room in London with a team of five.
I had a very long discussion with them.
It was pretty intense.
It got very technical, and I couldn’t be more frustrated.
They didn’t have a clue.
And they had no idea what I was talking about.
They said, ‘Why aren’t you doing anything with this?’
I said, I’m not doing anything.
I don’t know what’s going on.
And I was like, ‘No, you’re not doing any work.
You can go sit at home.’
So I went to my car.
I sat in my car, and this guy came up to me, like, put a fork in my face.
He said, don’t you dare do anything.
And it was like a punch to the gut.
I just remember being in a car for maybe five minutes, just sort of looking around.
I was just really confused, because I was thinking, ‘Oh, I know how Google maps works.’
I know what it’s doing, I’ve been there, and it’s working fine.
And then I realized, ‘Holy shit, they’re just not being honest.
They’re just being like, I don and I don.
You don’t get this.’
I said I don ‘t know what they’re doing, so I’m going to find out.’
So that was really what drove me, I just kept going.”
Anderson describes the moment when he discovered he had been lied to by Google Maps.
“We were in London for the World Economic Forum, and Google had just announced that it would be launching its own maps app, and then Google Maps had a whole new feature that they’re calling Google Earth, and they were like, well, you know, Google Earth isn’t going to work for us.
I mean, what does that mean?”
“I just sat there and I’m like, why isn’t Google Maps going to be able to work?
Because it was all this fake data that Google had put out.
And so the first thing I did was go on Google Earth.
And what you see is this.
And you go in, and you have Google Maps, and everything’s fine, and what’s missing is a map that tells you exactly where the nearest road is, or what your elevation is, and where your elevation changes with the seasons, and all of these things.
And Google Maps didn’t say anything.
The first thing that came to my mind was, why not say what they said?
And I started digging, and there were a bunch of things that Google said that were all fake.
I started to go, I really don’t understand what’s happening.
But Google Maps was still in business.
So I just said, this is bullshit, they didn’t tell me anything.
Then I started looking for Google Maps on other platforms, and that started to reveal that they weren’t telling me anything, either.
So it was pretty hard for me to get any traction.
And that’s when I started calling Google, and we started going to meetings with Google.
And we were talking about the future, about what Google is going to do.
And every time we talked about the Google Maps future, they were just like, we’re not even going to discuss it because we don’t want to piss anyone off, and the company was just like: ‘We’re not going to talk about it, we don’ t want to do any harm to Google, we want to be like, Google Maps is going on!’
So it just kept getting worse and worse and we were just not getting traction.
Then it started getting worse.
It wasn’t until one day, one of the executives, she’s a lovely lady and she was sitting at a table, and she just looked at me and said, what are you doing?
And my face just went all red, and my eyes just went completely red.
And my eyes were red, it was really, really scary.
And she said, do you know what this means?
And it means, Google doesn’t know anything.
It means that the maps that Google is using to make decisions about what you’re going to see are not going, you can’t see where the next street is, you cannot see where this is going.
And if you try to go to Google Maps from a public street, Google won’t let you see that street, so that’s really where Google Maps has failed.
And this was a really scary thing to hear.
And as we got closer to the end of the meeting, it turned out that Google hadn’t told them that they had been lying to them.
And the first place they told us was in the very last paragraph of the document.
And their response