When Crowdsourcing Fails: Google Places Edition

Google, the company that once declared "No humans were harmed or even used in the creation of this page," is now soliciting a human touch when necessary. Google Places, for example, crowd-sources information about the locations on its service. "Because we can't be on the ground in every city and town, we enable our great community of users to let us know when something needs to be updated," explains an official blog post. In this case, enlisting humans to do the work sounds peachy. That is, until it goes all wrong. "In recent months, plenty of perfectly healthy businesses across the country have expired -- sometimes for hours, other times for weeks -- though only in the online realm cataloged and curated by Google," writes The New York Times's David Segal. "The reason is that it is surprisingly easy to report a business as closed in Google Places, the search giant's version of the local Yellow Pages." While seeking input from the masses might seem like a good idea, on a mass scale with so much information and so many people it doesn't quite work.

Read the full story at The Atlantic Wire.

Presented by

The Atlantic Wire is your authoritative guide to the news and ideas that matter most right now.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Confessions of Moms Around the World

A global look at the hardest and best job ever

Video

A Stop-Motion Tour of New York City

A filmmaker animated hundreds of still photographs to create this Big Apple flip book

Video

The Absurd Psychology of Restaurant Menus

Would people eat healthier if celery was called "cool celery?"

Video

This Japanese Inn Has Been Open for 1,300 Years

It's one of the oldest family businesses in the world.

More in Technology

Just In