Google treats Maps as a free resource that it provides to the public. From their point of view, any problem that exists, if it can’t be handled at an engineering level really is not significant.
For users, there is an understanding that Maps is fulfilling a critical information role in our society and there is the underlying assumption of accuracy.
The interests of the user, the business and Google soon diverge quickly when innaccuracies show up in the system. It doesn’t matter whether the problem is caused by Google (think mergings) or by a third party (think hijacking), Google is going to see it as a statistical problem with a certain priority while the patient that went to the wrong emergency room or the business loosing income will view it as problem worthy of specific oversight and intervention.
Here was a post today in the Forums that is suggesting that Google should publicly and obviously recognize this difference with a Warning Label:
Shouldn’t Google post a visible warning to users about the merged information until it’s cleared up?
Google admits it’s a problem they are trying to fix but also says it could take some time.Our bed and breakfast listing shows our name, our competition’s address, our telephone number and our competition’s web address as well as their logo that links to their site. The problem is over 90% of our business comes from our web site. We have received a few calls that were clearly addressing the rooms they saw for the other Inn, so we directed them there, but we couldn’t figure out why that was happening. It took two days and much reading to find that it was a problem Google was having. It seemed that information should have been a bit more accessible.
And now, reading other people’s stories leads me to believe that Google should clearly post a warning to ALL users (not just those that have listings) that the Google Map information may not be accurate. This shouldn’t be taken lightly. Too many people rely on Internet information as if it’s infallible.
Google does place a warning on their driving directions:
These directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, weather, or other events may cause conditions to differ from the map results, and you should plan your route accordingly. You must obey all signs or notices regarding your route.
Should Google include a Warning Label with Local Results?