Google Maps Routes Cars Into Mud…

Quite a few news outlets are reporting a mistake in Google Maps that led to cars being stuck on a muddy road.

Apparently, the highway to Denver International Airport was backed up so Google Maps suggested a detour route – unfortunately this detour route was a dirt road that became mud after earlier rainstorms. A number of cars were stuck in the deep mud and had to be pulled out. See the video at this CNN article:
https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/26/us/google-maps-detour-colorado-trnd/index.html .

This Time article is a nice summary:
https://time.com/5615813/google-maps-mud-detour/ .

Screenshot of Time article, linked above.

It’s fun to blame Maps for incidents such as this, but it underlines how important it is to review maps and confirm where the route takes you. It would have been easy to pop open Google Maps Satellite View and quickly thumb through the overhead view to see where the detour took you – if you see a poorly maintained road, or any other warning signs, it’s definitely a good idea to avoid.

Gmail API Lockdown

I wanted to highlight this ArsTechnica article, Gmail’s API lockdown will kill some third-party app access, starting July 15, for several reasons.

The Security Audit Rule

Last October, Google announced that all applications accessing and storing Gmail data must pass a security audit from an outside firm – Google estimated that such an audit would cost $15,000 – $75,000 or more. Many useful Gmail plugins and integrations are shutting down due to this requirement, even open source applications where the code is available for all to review.

Historically, Google has been slowly repositioning Gmail from an email inbox to an app platform itself: there are Chrome addons and Gmail plugins to turn Gmail into a CRM, a todo list, a kanban board, and so many other integrations – which is why I’m surprised to see Google seemingly reduce the usefulness of Gmail by adding these requirements and losing these plugins.

We’ll see how this goes, but I would bet on Google slowly loosening up restrictions over time, or possibly offering subsidies for the security audits of popular Gmail plugins.

Google Reader Strikes Again

A particularly cheeky ArsTechnica commenter wrote the following insightful comment:

ArsTechnica commenter criticizes Google for shutting down other Gmail integrations.

And quite a lot of commenters seem to agree:

An ArsTechnica commenter agrees with the previous poster, criticizing Google for shutting down Gmail integrations.

Copyright Scandal On YouTube Gaming

A minor scandal popped up this morning and has been making the rounds of YouTube’s gaming section. YouTube user Mumbo Jumbo, famous for his Minecraft videos, suddenly had hundreds of his videos claimed by Warner Chappell – in other words, Warner Chappell claimed that the videos used music they owned, and by claiming the videos, they earned a percentage of the profit the videos generated.

Mumbo Jumbo announced his issue on Twitter this morning:
https://twitter.com/ThatMumboJumbo/status/1130009515766755328 .

Screenshot of Mumbo Jumbo's original tweet asking for help from YouTube.

Twitter user Fwiz, the head of YouTube Gaming, replied that he was looking into it:
https://twitter.com/Fwiz/status/1130128085347516417 .

Screenshot of Fwiz's tweet acknowledging they were looking into Mumbo Jumbo's copyright claim issues.

A lot of news media outlets are picking this story up such as HN: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19953532 and I expect we’ll see a lot more news when business opens on Monday.

Georgios Papanikolaou Doodle

Today’s doodle celebrates the life of Georgios Papanikolaou, who invented the pap smear.

The Google home page looked like this with the doodle:

Here is the doodle by itself:

The doodle links to a search for his name:

Google I/O 2019 Announcement Recap

In case you missed the recent Google I/O convention, Google has a recap of their I/O announcements conveniently summarized here:
https://www.blog.google/technology/developers/100-things-we-announced-io-19/ .

I really like the new privacy features Google is rolling out, but IMO the best one is number 77 on Google’s list: All Chromebooks launched this year will be Linux-ready right out of the box. The Chromebook is great, but sometimes you need the power of a CLI.

Business Insider: Downloading Google Maps For Offline Use

This recent Business Insider article details how to download Google Maps information to your phone’s local storage, so you can use Maps even when offline or when your phone is unable to get a signal: https://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-use-google-maps-offline .

When I travel, I always have Google Maps save a map of the area I’m travelling to. It’s not always possible to have a working cell signal – in flat Illinois where I live, it’s easy to have cell signal all the time. When I travel to more mountainous regions such as Colorado, I often lose signal due to mountains and hills between me and the signal tower.