The internet giant shows surfers maps where borders are drawn differently, so that residents of countries in conflict will be exposed to the version that adopts their narrative
Google Maps is right for you? // Photo: Reuters
Google's tech giant has often stated its desire to "organize global information", but it now becomes clear that it is also working to adapt the same information and disseminate different versions of it to counter the political pressures of large states and organizations. The Washington Post revealed over the weekend that disputed border areas are getting different versions of the Google Maps service.
For example, Google is working on the ongoing dispute between India and Pakistan in the Kashmir region: For Google Map users in India, the impression is that the conflict is sitting. The maps in this version show the entire Kashmir region under India's control but in other parts of the world there are winding and dotted lines that indicate the multi-year conflict.
Antitrust officials in Europe: "Google exploits its dominance" // Photo: Reuters
"From Argentina, to the UK, to Iran, the boundaries of the world look different depending on where you look at them, because Google and other webmasters are simply changing them," the Washington Post noted. One of the problems with this policy is related to the Google Maps market share - 80 percent of smartphone mapping services and over a billion users using this Yael service.
The decisions made by the company regarding the way the boundaries are drawn are not transparent but are shrouded in mystery. Border design is not only influenced by the historical background or local laws of that country "but also by the varying whims of diplomats, policymakers and executives at Google," according to officials.
Google wrote in a statement that "our goal has always been to provide the most comprehensive and accurate map possible based on the truth in the field," noted Ethan Russell, product manager responsible for Google's mapping services. "We remain neutral on disputed borders and areas and make every effort to objectively present the conflict on our maps through a gray border. In countries where we have a local version of Google Maps, we act on local legislation regarding names and borders" .
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Google Maps, which recently marked 15 years, has recently been upgraded and added services it offers to its users. Although it is free to use, it is one of the most profitable services of the technology giant. The utility estimates that it will earn about $ 3.6 billion by the end of the year thanks to the sale of advertisements. In addition, Google provides maps service to companies like "Uber".
Apple's Map Service is second in popularity with a market share of 10 to 12 percent. A spokeswoman for the company noted that they adhere to local laws "We look deeper into how we handle disputed boundaries in our services and we may make future changes as a result."