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How Google Maps cleverly avoids getting entangled in border disputes


Gif courtesy of <a href="">Gizmodo</a>

You can’t please all of the people all of the time – but when it comes to disputed borders, Google Maps gives it a very good try.

According to this wikipedia page, there are more than 200 disputed borders in the world – territories that are claimed by more than one country. Even the USA and Canada argue about who owns two islands, three straits and one sea. That’s more than 200 opportunities for Google Maps to cause offence … 

The Washington Post notes that Google has found a pragmatic solution to the problem: show a different border to different countries. The example it uses is Arunachal Pradesh, officially part of India but claimed by China. Search for this from most countries in the world, and the border quite clearly shows it to be part of India. Carry out the same search from within China, however, and equally clearly shows the province to belong to China.

The piece notes that it will be interesting to see whether Google takes the same approach to Crimea. This is currently still shown as part of the Ukraine no matter where you search from, but it’s quite possible that will soon be showing quite a different picture.

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