Google Maps: The Yorks are Yucked Once Again

The geography of the name York has an illustrious history in Maine. The Town of York was settled in 1624 and  the county of the same name was established in 1636. The  Town of York has four villages, York Village, York Harbor, York Beach and Cape Neddick, commonly known as …. The Yorks. So if one searched for York, one would logically think that you would be taken to the town…

But York has a somewhat inglorious past in the virtual world of Google Maps. Like Sunrise, it’s one of those towns that just can’t seem to stay found, reflecting both the vagaries of Google Maps AND the oft times frustrating, Report a Problem system.

Here’s Su from the Inn at Tanglewood Hall in the Town of York to explain the situation from her point of view:

As you may recall in March- May 2009, Google Maps mistakenly coded the Town of York Maine for the York County seat, 26 miles north of us near Sanford/Kennebunk Maine, sending all of our town’s tourism business to our competitors in Kennebunkport.

Beginning in August 2010, Google Maps once again shifted the Town of York to the same exact wrong location. When you first clicked on Maps, results were correct, but a click to the second page of results sent you miles north. If you actually search directly on Maps for the Town of York, it is pinpointed in Sanford, theYork County seat .

Beginning April 12, Google Local results are also being shifted Kennebunkport. Google “York Maine Bed & Breakfasts” or “York Maine Doctors”, etc. We are desperate now to have this resolved. Our personal business has dropped 38% for the month of April and our busy tourism season is about to begin. Bill, who reports below, is also in the same situation as is the entire Town of York’s tourism business. Google is destroying livelihoods with its neglect to fix this and doing its customers a huge disservice by providing totally inaccurate search results. Fixing this needs to be escalated immediately.

Listed below are copies of all the Google Map Problem Reports filed since last August. There are at least 9 Different Case Files assigned and after EIGHT months of reporting, the Town of York Maine is still lost!!!

~Thanks, Su

Whether this problem could be solved with the newly released US version of Map Maker is not quite clear to me as I am still struggling with learning the interface (and it is certainly too difficult for most Inn owners to learn).

Note to readers: here are the many Report a Problem requests, they are included in oldest to newest date order for reference. It is not necessary to slog though them all but if you read the first and last one and scroll through the rest, the point will be patently obvious….

—————————————————-

Date: Tue, Aug 24, 2010 at 4:00 PM
Subject: Google Maps Problem Report (ID: 9FAC-EFA9-994E-855B)

Hi Bill,

Thanks for taking the time to report a problem with Google Maps. We’ll send you an update once your report has been reviewed to let you know the resolution.

We have created ID: 9FAC-EFA9-994E-855B to track this problem.

Report history
Problem ID: 9FAC-EFA9-994E-855B

Your report: York (03909) is not near Sanford! York is an incorporated town that includes the villages of York Beach, York Harbor and CapeNeddick


Thanks for your help,
The Google Maps team

————-

Date: Tue, Aug 24, 2010 at 5:30 PM

Subject: Google Maps Problem Report (ID: 53A5-70FD-5CD2-E4EC)

Hi Bill,

Thanks for taking the time to report a problem with Google Maps. We’ll send you an update once your report has been reviewed to let you know the resolution.

We have created ID: 53A5-70FD-5CD2-E4EC to track this problem.

Report history
Problem ID: 53A5-70FD-5CD2-E4EC

Your report: re: Problem ID: 9FAC-EFA9-994E-855B in an effort to assist: when you google from “search” the location is correct. when you google from maps it’s wrong. just want to give you detectives some help. BTW, there is a whole history of this going wrong last year – exact same problem!…another clue?


Thanks for your help,
The Google Maps team

————-

Date: Sun, Sep 5, 2010 at 1:16 PM

Subject: Google Maps Problem Report (ID: 937C-5298-2380-9A30)

Hi Bill,

Thanks for taking the time to report a problem with Google Maps. We’ll send you an update once your report has been reviewed to let you know the resolution.

We have created ID: 937C-5298-2380-9A30 to track this problem.

Report history
Problem ID: 937C-5298-2380-9A30

Your report: How long does it take for a sophisticated company like Google to fix a simple error like this? York, Maine (03909) is not near Sanford or Kennebunk. This problem has been reported, fixed, unfixed for 18 months now. Does anyone care about the accuracy of Google Maps?


Thanks for your help,
The Google Maps team

————-

Date: Fri, Sep 10, 2010 at 10:16 PM

Subject: Google Maps Problem Report (ID: 24EE-62E7-6BD7-2286)

Hi Bill,

Thanks for taking the time to report a problem with Google Maps. We’ll send you an update once your report has been reviewed to let you know the resolution.

We have created ID: 24EE-62E7-6BD7-2286 to track this problem.

Report history
Problem ID: 24EE-62E7-6BD7-2286

Your report: You have moved York Maine north and important web traffic is being sent to the wrong town. Google is now inefficient – despite many attempts to contact you about this problem. What’s up?


Thanks for your help,
The Google Maps team

————-

Date: Fri, Oct 15, 2010 at 4:39 PM

Subject: Google Maps Problem Report (ID: 24EE-62E7-6BD7-2286)

Hi Bill,

Your Google Maps problem report has been reviewed, and you were right! We’ll update the map soon and email you when you can see the change.

Report history
Problem ID: 24EE-62E7-6BD7-2286

Your report: You have moved York Maine north and important web traffic is being sent to the wrong town. Google is now inefficient – despite many attempts to contact you about this problem. What’s up?


Thanks for your help,
The Google Maps team

————-

Date: Fri, Oct 15, 2010 at 4:39 PM

Subject: Google Maps Problem Report (ID: E925-4186-08D7-BF2A)
To: billya47@gmail.com

Hi Bill,

Your Google Maps problem report has been reviewed, and you were right! We’ll update the map soon and email you when you can see the change.

Report history
Problem ID: E925-4186-08D7-BF2A

Your report: For months, York Maine 03909 has been placed in the wrong spot. You have been notified many times…what’s up?


Thanks for your help,
The Google Maps team

————-

Date: Thu, Dec 16, 2010 at 1:57 PM

Subject: Google Maps Problem Report (ID: AFF3-3EE2-B4D8-011E)

Hi Bill,

Thank you for reporting this problem with a residence, business, or landmark. We have submitted this change to our internal moderation team. Please check back in a few weeks to see the results.

Report history
Problem ID: AFF3-3EE2-B4D8-011E

Your report: Why does a search for “York Maine bed and breakfasts” from maps result in an initial list from York (town), but when you search again (very same terms) it reverts to ‘Near” and uses York county. When one searches for a business in York Maine they are not looking for the county (huge…goes up and down the coast), they are searching for the TOWN. I heard you are working on this but 2 tips: the problem has to do with York and Google’s insistence on using “near” as a default. Please help. These erroneous results are hurting York small businesses.

Thanks for your help,
The Google Maps team

————-

ate: Thu, Dec 16, 2010 at 1:57 PM

Subject: Google Maps Problem Report (ID: 9FAC-EFA9-994E-855B)

Hi Bill,

Your Google Maps problem report has been reviewed, and you were right! We’ll update the map soon and email you when you can see the change.

Report history
Problem ID: 9FAC-EFA9-994E-855B

Your report: York (03909) is not near Sanford! York is an incorporated town that includes the villages of York Beach, York Harbor and CapeNeddick


Thanks for your help,
The Google Maps team

————-

Date: Tue, Jan 4, 2011 at 6:53 PM

Subject: Google Maps Problem Report (ID: 7264-EC6B-163B-2C7E)

Hi Bill,

Thanks for taking the time to report a problem with Google Maps. We’ll send you an update once your report has been reviewed to let you know the resolution.

We have created ID: 7264-EC6B-163B-2C7E to track this problem.

Report history
Problem ID: 7264-EC6B-163B-2C7E

Your report: Ok, it’s been months now (for the second time on this problem) When someone searches for York Maine they do not want a county. They want a town (defined as 03909 zip code) You are sending business away from the Town of York to other Maine towns. The fact that this has been ignored for so long boggles my mind and erodes my faith in Google.


Thanks for your help,
The Google Maps team

————-

Date: Tue, Mar 1, 2011 at 7:41 AM

Subject: Google Maps Problem Report (ID: 9FAC-EFA9-994E-855B)

Hi Bill,

Google Maps has been updated to correct the problem you reported. You can see the update here, and if you still see a problem, please tell us more about the issue: Link to view and/or reopen issue

Report history
Problem ID: 9FAC-EFA9-994E-855B

Your report: York (03909) is not near Sanford! York is an incorporated town that includes the villages of York Beach, York Harbor and CapeNeddick


Thanks for your help,
The Google Maps team

————-

Date: Tue, Mar 1, 2011 at 7:41 AM

Subject: Google Maps Problem Report (ID: 24EE-62E7-6BD7-2286)

Hi Bill,

Google Maps has been updated to correct the problem you reported. You can see the update here, and if you still see a problem, please tell us more about the issue: Link to view and/or reopen issue

Report history
Problem ID: 24EE-62E7-6BD7-2286

Your report: You have moved York Maine north and important web traffic is being sent to the wrong town. Google is now inefficient – despite many attempts to contact you about this problem. What’s up?


Thanks for your help,
The Google Maps team

————-

Date: Tue, Mar 1, 2011 at 7:41 AM

Subject: Google Maps Problem Report (ID: 24EE-62E7-6BD7-2286)

Hi Bill,

Google Maps has been updated to correct the problem you reported. You can see the update here, and if you still see a problem, please tell us more about the issue: Link to view and/or reopen issue

Report history
Problem ID: 24EE-62E7-6BD7-2286

Your report: You have moved York Maine north and important web traffic is being sent to the wrong town. Google is now inefficient – despite many attempts to contact you about this problem. What’s up?


Thanks for your help,
The Google Maps team

————-

Date: Tue, Mar 1, 2011 at 7:41 AM

Subject: Google Maps Problem Report (ID: E925-4186-08D7-BF2A)

Hi Bill,

Google Maps has been updated to correct the problem you reported. You can see the update here, and if you still see a problem, please tell us more about the issue: Link to view and/or reopen issue

Report history
Problem ID: E925-4186-08D7-BF2A

Your report: For months, York Maine 03909 has been placed in the wrong spot. You have been notified many times…what’s up?


Thanks for your help,
The Google Maps team

————-

Date: Thu, Mar 3, 2011 at 2:02 PM

Subject: Google Maps Problem Report (ID: 937C-5298-2380-9A30)

Hi Bill,

Thank you for the additional information. The Google Maps problem you reported has been reopened. We will email you when the issue is resolved.

Report history
Problem ID: 937C-5298-2380-9A30

Your report: How long does it take for a sophisticated company like Google to fix a simple error like this? York, Maine (03909) is not near Sanford or Kennebunk. This problem has been reported, fixed, unfixed for 18 months now. Does anyone care about the accuracy of Google Maps?

Update on 3/3/11 11:02 AM: Not fixed!!! A search for York Maine should not land me in the middle of “York County”. York is a town! And it is not near Sanford or Kennebunk!


Thanks for your help,
The Google Maps team

————-

Date: Thu, Mar 3, 2011 at 2:05 PM

Subject: Google Maps Problem Report (ID: 7264-EC6B-163B-2C7E)

Hi Bill,

Thank you for the additional information. The Google Maps problem you reported has been reopened. We will email you when the issue is resolved.

Report history
Problem ID: 7264-EC6B-163B-2C7E

Your report: Ok, it’s been months now (for the second time on this problem) When someone searches for York Maine they do not want a county. They want a town (defined as 03909 zip code) You are sending business away from the Town of York to other Maine towns. The fact that this has been ignored for so long boggles my mind and erodes my faith in Google.

Update on 3/3/11 11:05 AM: Not fixed. York is next to Kittery not Sanford! Multiple complaints about this over almost 2 years, and now I get emails saying it’s resolved. Not right.


Thanks for your help,
The Google Maps team

 

 

 

 

 

Date: Thu, Mar 3, 2011 at 2:07 PM
Subject: Google Maps Problem Report (ID: 9FAC-EFA9-994E-855B)

Hi Bill,

Thank you for the additional information. The Google Maps problem you reported has been reopened. We will email you when the issue is resolved.

Report history
Problem ID: 9FAC-EFA9-994E-855B

Your report: York (03909) is not near Sanford! York is an incorporated town that includes the villages of York Beach, York Harbor and Cape Neddick

Update on 3/3/11 11:07 AM: still not corrected. A search for York still is incorrect. Someone should call me to discuss this because this reporting system isn’t working. Google Maps credibility is at stake here.


Thanks for your help,
The Google Maps team

 

 

 

Date: Thu, Mar 3, 2011 at 2:09 PM
Subject: Google Maps Problem Report (ID: E925-4186-08D7-BF2A)

Hi Bill,

Thank you for the additional information. The Google Maps problem you reported has been reopened. We will email you when the issue is resolved.

Report history
Problem ID: E925-4186-08D7-BF2A

Your report: For months, York Maine 03909 has been placed in the wrong spot. You have been notified many times…what’s up?

Update on 3/3/11 11:09 AM: Sorry, but this not fixed. Call me. This is affecting my business.


Thanks for your help,
The Google Maps team

 

 

Date: Fri, Apr 8, 2011 at 8:56 AM
Subject: Google Maps Problem Report (ID: 53A5-70FD-5CD2-E4EC)

Hi Bill,

Thank you for the additional information. The Google Maps problem you reported has been reopened. We will email you when the issue is resolved.

Report history
Problem ID: 53A5-70FD-5CD2-E4EC

Your report: re: Problem ID: 9FAC-EFA9-994E-855B in an effort to assist: when you google from “search” the location is correct. when you google from maps it’s wrong. just want to give you detectives some help. BTW, there is a whole history of this going wrong last year – exact same problem!…another clue?

Update on 4/8/11 5:56 AM: When you search the first time for “York Maine Bed and Breakfasts” the result is accurate. If you click it a second time, the results are wrong. The first click brings you accurately to York as a town. The second click (search click) brings you to the county – which is huge and not appropriate for a “local search”.


Thanks for your help,
The Google Maps team

 

 

Date: Tue, Apr 12, 2011 at 9:46 AM
Subject: Google Maps Problem Report (ID: F6FD-6097-3D4B-7F29)

Hi Bill,

Thanks for taking the time to report a problem with Google Maps. We’ll send you an update once your report has been reviewed to let you know the resolution.

We have created ID: F6FD-6097-3D4B-7F29 to track this problem.

Report history
Problem ID: F6FD-6097-3D4B-7F29

Your report: We in York (the town !, not the county) are extremely frustrated that this issue is not resolved. Dozens of local businesses in York (the town !) are having their search results sent north to Kennebunk (our archrivals in the hospitality business). York is between Kittery and Ogunquit not near Sanford or Kennebunk. Please, please. please help. Our season is just now beginning….but this problem has been an issue for months…no, on and off for YEARS.


Thanks for your help,
The Google Maps team

On Tue, Apr 19, 2011 at 12:29 PM, <noreply-maps-issues@google.com> wrote:

Hi K,

Thanks for taking the time to report a problem with Google Maps. We’ll send you an update once your report has been reviewed to let you know the resolution.

We have created ID: 250D-33A7-BF7B-E036 to track this problem.

Report history
Problem ID: 250D-33A7-BF7B-E036

Your report: The Town of York Maine has been relocated to the York County seat area, 26 miles north to Sanford/Kennebunk. This problem also occurred Mar-May 2009 before it was resolved. Effective April 12, 2011 Google Local results now show Sanford/Kennebunk instead of YorkMaine. Google York Maine Doctors, etc.


Thanks for your help,
The Google Maps team

 

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Maps: The Yorks are Yucked Once Again by

15 thoughts on “Google Maps: The Yorks are Yucked Once Again”

  1. Certainly illustrative…I wonder if there is some sort of throttle mechanism for problems like this…whereby they ‘correct’ it but can only go so far before interfering with other gears in the machinery?

  2. Clearly there are some underlying data structures that continue to influence the geography that have the wrong information… or there is algo confusion between the county and town… but your question about why the problem doesn’t say fixed is a good one…

  3. Wow, 8 months and hasn’t been resolved yet. The genuises at Google must taken action on this as soon as possible. I can only imagine the effect of the town tourism decline.

  4. I am the “Bill” who has been focused on the problem with Su. This problem has a long history. I wish I had made notes over the years as to the number of times it was reported and partially resolved.

    I do find it interesting that Google has a staff of “live people” who call businesses (I mean actually use a telephone to talk) to sell Google Adwords and Google Tag programs. They are very nice. They want my money. That’s why they call.

    Wouldn’t it appropriate to have a staff nurturing it’s existing customers? I have left my phone number so someone could call about this issue. Nothing happens. I “report the problem” endlessly. Nothing happens for weeks, even months. Then I get an automated response that says: “Yes you were right and we have resolved the issue”. But they haven’t.

    I believe that the path to the solution lies in a simple process of identifying the algorithm that seeks York and defaults to the county vs the town. If I were a Google engineer, I would be looking at all the towns that have the same name as their counties.

    I read a lot of business news. My eye has caught articles about how Larry Page wants to get Google thinking small and re-grasp the entrepreneurial spirit. Hello Larry. You could start by listening to your customers.

    The ultimate slap in the face was the recent article that Google Maps was now going to start accepting feedback from its users.

    Earth to Larry: You have become Microsoft. Big, cocky, bureaucratic like a giant government. You don’t listen. You are so full of your new initiatives that you let your existing processes go sloppy and inefficient. Google Maps is about as effective as Vista. Oh, and perhaps you could consider how embarrassingly inaccurate your “street views” are! Who gave the OK to release that program before it was ready? Perhaps the truck driving around was too focused on picking up WI-FI signals to double check the accuracy of the work.

    But here’s the good news. Even IBM could reinvent itself and now leads in its sector again. You can too. Just listen and respond to your customer.

    Larry…does anyone at Google care?

  5. Its apparent that someone at Google does not either care or is not looking at the whole problem.

    Really surprised that Google has not fixed it after so long. I’m sure that this post will get noticed by someone responsible at Google and get results fixed.

  6. I’d be screaming at local politicians to raise the level of complaint and awareness.

    Essentially google’s mistakes on hard information, compounded by an utter and overwhelming disregard for the consequences are costing people their livelihoods.

    Its the most compelling argument about the dangers of a monopoly. Its one thing to describe monopolies in an abstract way. Here is a monopoly that quite simply refuses to acknowledge its power and simply doesn’t respond, while its very correctable errors are having a dire effect on a town’s welfare.

    Its a dangerous form of arrogance. I’d lobby local and state politicians, business groups that “purportedly” support the interests of the town, its businesses and its population, local and national media all to bring this situation to a head and do it quickly.

  7. Not being a Maine native, it appears to me now that York is in the correct place in Google Maps. Yorkerians, correct me if I’m wrong.

    On the other hand, what I gathered from the long history of correspondence that Google would at times effect a correction but the algo that operates G Maps would at some point automatically relocate York, once again. Is that correct?

    If currently correct I only hope you stay there on the web maps that have a monopoly on viewership.

    If not, I’d suggest raising holy hell with your politicians and all members of the media.

  8. No not fixed. Go directly to Maps and begin a fresh search for York Maine. You will see that instead of being between Kittery & Ogunquit on the seacoast, we are 26 miles north between Sanford & Kennebunk. We are the Town of York, not the York County seat which is where we are being pinpointed. Go back to regular local search. Type York Maine Museums or Golf Courses, or Doctors, or Dentists, Electricians, Lawyers, or Bed and Breakfast, etc. ALL WRONG. Sometimes there are blended results and when you go to the Map it looks OK, but if you click for the second page of results on Maps, everyone is sent to our competitors in Kennebunkport and the map gets goofy with multiple pinpoints.

    What happens in this busy tourist town when someone unfamiliar with the area needs a doctor ASAP on their mobile device? Could be dire consequences.

    Would appreciate anyone reTweeting this, as the story broke on Easter Saturday.

  9. I was wrong above. Suppose there is a fire in York, Maine. Look up fire department, York, Maine and the first thing you see is the fire department 30 miles North in Kennebunk. (hm, if you do call the Kennebunk fire department I wonder if any of the Bush family can be found on the hook and ladder??)

    Google still can’t fix this problem after what appears to be about 2 years of contacts going back till 2009.

    Yorkonians, get your politicians, the Associated Press, and local media in an uproar. Google’s NON RESPONSE modus operandi is screwing over your economic welfare and nobody is speaking up about this horrendous example of Monopolistic Arrogance!!!

  10. To answer the question as to whether this could be solved using Map Maker: Some of us in town made a valiant attempt to do so. We submitted Town of York Maine GIS boundaries and the edit was preliminarily approved quickly; but was denied by Google Reviewer Charlie. Reason: May adversely affect user/data owners. ????????

  11. Mike,

    It does seem to be fixed. My personal thanks to you for your help. I don’t know how all this happened and I don’t need to know. I just want to shout out thanks to anyone who jumped in and took an interest in what would seem to some a minor glitch. For us little folk in Maine it was huge, of course.

    May the fix hold and may the force be with you.

    Thanks again,
    Bill

  12. As an early adopter of Google search, as an enthusiastic user/promoter of Gmail, as a lover of Picasa, as a blogger…etc. our disappointment with Google is devastating.

    Don’t get me wrong. We are thrilled that this issue seems to be resolved. Thanks again to the Google person who finally solved this.

    But when a company that you have endorsed, promoted to friends and family, used with enthusiasm a zillion times, becomes so clumsy that it won’t respond to it’s customers over a period of months, the sense of betrayal is very real.

    Every company and every country has it’s early surge of growth and customer focus. Then at some point, it loses its grip and becomes so large and bureaucratic that it becomes ineffective.

    I truly hope that this event is an anomaly. I love most of what Google has done. I want to be that enthusiastic booster again. How could that happen?

    Google could begin by responding directly via phone call or email to customers with legitimate concerns. Otherwise we are left with the impression that we are just pawns in a huge corporate mosh pit.

    A simple human outreach would have solved this problem and saved the world of search thousands of hours of wasted time. Most of all, it would have restored Googles reputation of “doing no evil” as well as being the nimble organization it started out being.

    Perhaps some top executives could actually read some of the “reported problems” and set goals for resolution for their engineers. Don”t tell me it isn’t practical. I used to be corporate dude in a major company. All it takes is the right attitude at the top.

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