Google Earth Community is like Wikipedia — including in Israel

The Jerusalem Post‘s David Shamah opinionates about the Google Earth Community layer in Google Earth and on whether Google is responsible for the accuracy of its content in the context of the recent news that the Israeli town of Kiryat Yam is attempting to take Google to court for slander.

The first half of the article is incomprehensible to me (what do “false flags” have to do with anything?) but the second half provides a good retort as to why Thameen Darby’s layer may not be so reliable. Still, Shamah gets it wrong when he concludes:

Of course, the Google people will say that anyone who wishes to catalog the Israeli side of the story is welcome to. But if Google wants its tools to become the vehicles that supply us with the information we need, it has a responsibility – because of its respectability – to ensure that the balance is there, and not leave it up to “volunteers.”

Actually, Yes, do leave it up to the volunteers. There is a precedent for it — it is called Wikipedia. Shamah knows about Wikipedia — he uses it repeatedly in his article to reference his argument.

2 thoughts on “Google Earth Community is like Wikipedia — including in Israel”

  1. Everyone can edit Wikipedia articles (minus protected pages), but who can edit GEC placemarks? Everyone? Don’t think so…

    Even the person who posted the placemark cannot(?) change it once it’s added to GE layers.

    Probably only moderators/Google staff can do something…

  2. The differences between Google Earth and Wikipedia

    1) Of course both rely on volunteers, which leads to the possibility (likelihood?) of incorrect, agenda-driven information being posted. The question is what do you do about it? Wikipedia either removes or tags suspect or disputed information so you know that there is more than one side to the story. No such indication is given in GE.

    2) Wikipedia presents itself as a Web based encyclopedia staffed by volunteers and makes this very clear throughout the site. GE is a piece of software downloaded from the most authoritative name on the Web, with the implication that the information on it is authoritative as well. There is nothing wrong with relying on volunteers but if you want the product to have integrity and authority you have to monitor them. You can’t have it both ways…

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