Today, April 24, 2015, was meant to be an epic moment in the history of Apple’s immense high-tech product line. The sale of the new Apple Watch began this morning, and while the fanfare wasn’t nearly what it was cracked up to be, a related incident certainly did have some cracking up as Google Maps depicted the visage of the Android mascot urinating on the Apples logo.
The screenshot above was taken by members of Team Android early this morning at the global coordinates 33°30’52.5″N, 73°03’33.2″E on Google Maps. The location lies on the outskirts of Rawalpindi, a city in the Pothohar region of northern Punjab, Pakistan. Before you go looking up those coordinates, don’t bother – the satirical image has been removed.
Initially, the blame was thrown at Google, the owner of Android and direct rival of Apple. Why not make fun of your biggest competitor on the very day its latest and greatest product, the Apple Watch, is being released to the public? But as Engadget was quick to point out, “It could have been made by a renegade Google employee, or a member of the public using a crowdsourced mapping tool like Map Maker.”
As it turns out, Engadget hit the nail on the head. The culprit who designed and inserted the image of Android’s mascot urinating on the Apple logo has been identified only as Google Map Maker user “nitricboy”. Although his true identity has not yet been established, most are in full agreement that he is in no way employed by or associated with the team at Google Maps, and that it’s more likely an oversight by the review team.
Google Map Maker is a program allows the public to correct errors in mapping and add new locations, such as roads or businesses. Google has even offered prizes in the past to users who made the most corrections to mapping data in specific regions. Essentially, it is an easy way to get the public to do for free what your team of paid employees would take much longer to accomplish.
Unfortunately, it can also result in incidents such as this, where an Android robot reliving himself upon the Apple logo became labeled as a recreational park in Pakistan.
Theoretically, a visible update of this nature should never occur in the first place. The Google Map Maker FAQ states that, “Changes suggested on Google Map Maker need to be reviewed before they become part of the data on Google Maps.”
So why did such a mockery of technology branding make it past the review process? That’s a good question with several possible answers, but none that can be confirmed. It’s certainly worth noting that the general public can conduct reviews, so long as they build up a trusted reputation by updating and properly reviewing others’ work first. Also, the way in which “nitricboy” updated the maps could point to a possible reason.
The update was processed in five increments, all as “parks” locations. The first update outlined the shape of the Android mascot’s head only. The second was the torso, minus the arm. Third came the missing arm and one leg, followed by the Apple logo and stream of urine pouring onto it. Then last, the other leg and two ‘splash marks’ atop the apple were applied.
By breaking the update into pieces, reviewers from Google may not have realized what was actually going on with each new update (although realistically, the Android mascot’s head and Apple logo should have raised some flags). Whether Apple will choose to hold any animosity towards Google/Android for the spoofed logos is yet to be seen.