Hacking Google Maps
Google Maps is an indispensable tool to search for a road or address in a city that you do not know. Thanks to this system it’s possible to bring maps and real-time traffic information to your smartphone.
In addition to the maps, Google Maps allows you to search for restaurants, monuments, shops and also to calculate the distance between two destinations. The latter function is really important as users organize their trip based on the travel time indicated. Google Maps is implementing its services. Now users can find out if there are speed cameras along the way or if public transport is running late.
The road mapping service was born in 2005 and only in 2016 Google Maps updated the maps of the whole world thanks to satellite images.
Recently and only for some countries, the tool makes available traffic function that displays road traffic problems. It is a feature that is very successful and helps road users.
Red road means heavy traffic. Green road means flowing traffic. Orange road means the presence of slowdowns.
Even in some cases, when the traffic is very intense, Google Maps automatically suggests an alternative route.
Is it possible to alter Google Maps informations in any way? This question has been answered in a curious experiment.
Google Maps has been tricked
German artist Simon Weckert had the idea of changing Berlin traffic thanks to the use of a trolley full of smartphones. 99 smartphones loaded on a trolley that sent Google Maps on tilt. All the phones were on and connected and, as Google Maps detects the presence of devices connected to the tool in real time, the road was very busy. Users have been so deceived.
The road was highlighted in red and therefore it was very busy. Google maps only detected traffic after the artist went up and down with the trolley along the way. Thanks to this stratagem the German artist has gone as far as Google Maps.
The response from Google Maps was not long in coming. The reply was published by the 9to5Google magazine.
A spokesman said the app generally uses several sources to find its information, not just Maps.
Indeed, in some countries such as India or Egypt the tool distinguishes cars and motorcycles.
Is Google Maps information always true?
Google Maps is a business opportunity for many companies thanks to advertisements. Cafes, restaurants, pubs use paid ads to recover search visibility.
However, many of these companies are fake. They create fake profiles in Google My Business, the free service used to publish corporate ads in Google Search and Maps.
This is a negative practice for real companies that lose visibility and customers. It is a scam that Google is trying in every way to stem.
Google Maps is committed to canceling fake business ads and verifying real ones in order to ensure the truth of the information published on the tool.
First of all, Google guidelines try to prevent these phenomena. Companies wishing to place their advertisements must indicate the real name of the company, as indicated in the shop window, and their website as known by their customers.
In addition, it is necessary to indicate the correct address, opening hours and various other detailed information.
The problem is with Google checking for incorrect information.
Google spokesmen said that in 2017 only 0.5% of local searches contained fake ads. It was, therefore, an insignificant percentage compared to all other true information.
Then Google announced that it is making a lot of efforts to deal with spam and scam attempts on Maps. Over three million fake profiles have so far been eliminated, many of which have just been created.
Maps users didn't even notice these fake profiles. Google then implemented a strategy to minimize fraud. Goole Maps users can report fake profiles and ask Google to delete them.Google has made it known that it is developing new ways, both manual and automatic, to combat scammers.
Search algorithms of Google Maps
Certainly Google will try to improve its search algorithms by trying to reduce fraud attempts.
The solution could be to force companies to publish real information or to inform Google Maps users that the information contained in the tool may be wrong.
Currently, Google Maps users can report errors on the map, for example, wrong street names, wrong traffic information (one-way or two-way streets), closed roads, missing roads, wrong addresses, etc.
But that's still not enough.
It would be useful to implement the General Conditions or the Terms of Service governing the relationship between Google and the user.
This form should indicate the general terms of the service and inform all users of the possibility of false information present in the tool.