Google has taken down its Map Maker application following recent spam attacks and other unethical map edits made to Google Maps. It seems that these changes were made possible by exploiting a security flaw in Map Maker; the service has since been taken offline.
Map Maker, which was crowd sourced, was active for many years and was was considered a significant part of Google Maps. It has enabled people to add details to a specific point or place things like places, roads, intersections, or any other omissions directly onto Google with little moderation. This in turn helped a lot of Google Map users to navigate easily and took some of the burden of mapping off of Google.
But recently the tool has been used to upload bogus and inappropriate contents to Google Maps. For example, just a couple of weeks ago someone added a photo of Android robot urinating on Apple logo to Google Maps. Another famous hack allowed a user to add his business location right inside the White House.
But now it looks like Google has had enough and has finally taken down Map Maker. Currently, the message on Map Maker suggests that the service is temporarily unavailable and that Google is making necessary edits in order to make it less prone to hacking and spamming. Product Manager Pavithra Kanakarajan has confirmed on Google Map Maker forum that the decision to shut down the service is directly related to the spam attacks on Google Maps in recent months.
It is still not certain when the Map Maker tool will come online again but considering the gravity of the situation, Google won’t take a second chance of releasing it without properly testing it for exploits.