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Google to shut down Map Maker tool in March 2017

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Sanjeeb Kumar Sahoo
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Google’s Map Maker tool

NEW DELHI: Google’s Map Maker tool that allowed users to edit and add their community’s up to date information while at home or on the go, will be shut down by March 2017.

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Google announced in a blog post that it will retire the standalone Map Maker product and integrate it directly into Google Maps.

Starting today, edits submitted to Google Maps will no longer be available to Map Maker for moderation. However, with Google’s Local Guides program, users can still avail the editing and suggestion features in the main Google Maps app. It also rewards people by granting access to beta features and gifting Google Drive storage for improving local mapping data for their community.

With this move, Google aims to streamline its efforts and expedite the publication of changes and additions, says the company.

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A Google spokesperson explained to TechCrunch, “Over the past year, we’ve rolled out new, easy ways for people to help keep Google Maps up to date by allowing them to make edits directly from the Google Maps app and through Google Search.”

He further said, “Based on these efforts, in addition to our new Local Guides program, we’ve decided to retire Map Maker in order to improve and expedite the Maps editing experience on both mobile and desktop.”

The Map Maker tool was initially launched in 2008 to crowdsource information from rural areas. A community of editors and moderators were tasked with supervising and approving changes made to public data on Google Maps.

Eventually, the community grew into millions of users. However, Google had to shut down the tool temporarily due to a surge of map vandalism and mischiefs.

The spokesperson further added, “We greatly appreciate the millions of edits the Map Maker community has contributed over the years and encourage them to continue adding their local knowledge to Google Maps through our recently launched contribution channels and by joining the growing community of Local Guides.”

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