G oogle, starting Tuesday, will allow U.S. users to begin editing changes into Google Maps, allowing people to include the most specific geographic items in their neighborhoods, which Google hopes will enrich its valuable geographic database.
Google Map Maker was released almost three years ago, allowing users in 183 countries to modify the online maps we’ve become reliant upon. Now Google has extended the reach of Map Maker to include the United States and added new features such as street-level perspective on places with Street View imagery, editable points of interest, and powerful search options that can see small details like railroad tracks.
The biggest backlash has been directed at a “Street View” feature that provides photographic images of many cities in the online maps. Street View initially provoked privacy complaints because Google published photos that included people in public places or activities that they didn’t want to be posted online.
Last year, Google revealed that the cars also had been equipped with software that vacuumed up personal e-mail and other data from users on unprotected wireless networks in neighborhoods where the company’s picture-taking cars had been cruising. Google says it didn’t discover the cars had the snooping software until it responded to a regulatory inquiry.