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 .
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.
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:
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.
Google released the introductory episode of a series of SEO mythbusting videos here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrIwTzUTEGs . I’m looking forward to future episodes – there are so many myths around SEO, it’s good to see Google breaking some of them down.
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.
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.