back to article Revealed: Scammers plaster Google Maps with pins to lure punters from honest traders

Computer scientists at the University of California, San Diego, and Google, are clamping down on fake businesses trying to scam victims through Google Maps. Most Google search results are influenced by your physical whereabouts. Googling restaurants, movie theaters, or hairdressers runs up a list of businesses Google Maps …

  1. Toc-H-Lamp

    Google seems to be struggling to administer a number of aspects of it's business recently. It looks to be a very shoddy setup built around an excellent search algorithm. Where's the emperor's clothes icon.

    1. Richard Pennington 1

      The Emperor's Clothes icon

      There is an Emperor's Clothes icon. You just can't see it.

      I'll get my (invisible) coat.

  2. EJ

    Google should make it easier to report these discoveries of false/incorrect entities, too. I once drove to a hotel on their map in western NY that was in actuality nothing more than a hay field - the hotel was literally 3 miles away. Trying to contact Google was a bit of an uphill struggle to report that issue.

    1. Bandikoto

      A "mall" is not always a place to shop

      There's been problems with the data in Maps long before the Black Hats figured out how to game their naïveté. I don't know how many local corrections I've submitted, removing items that were clearly shovel-ware garnered from some out-of-date business index. "There's a private firm there, not a grocery store. Look at the Street View if you don't believe me."

      Maps editors insisted for quite some time on keeping a phone number that was harvested from a city history site in Cleveland attached to the entry for The Mall, which is a classic open urban space downtown where people can go to walk. The phone number rang to a reference librarian's desk at Cleveland State University, as the Uni had put together the city history site - said phone number was listed in the common footer for the site's pages.

      Now generally, having the phone number listed on a random physical feature wouldn't be a problem, but enter the 21st century - people tell their phones to "Call the mall", expecting to reach a shopping center so they could ask questions such as "Like, how late is Forever Twenty-one open?", but instead the caller reachs a reference librarian who then gently points them towards the correct resource. Similarly, people asking their phones to "Navigate to the mall" would get taken to a small urban park near the historic city center rather than a giant parking lot outside of a temple of consumerism in the suburbs.

      Fortunately, The Mall is no longer indexed in Maps, and the calls to the beleaguered librarian have dropped off drastically.

  3. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    This is why we can't have nice things.

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