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Escort Services, Call Girl Sites Listed On The New Google Maps, Google Plus

Update: We’ve received the following response from Google on this development: “We have clear content policies in place to ensure the quality of local listings on Google Maps and Google Places.  We take violations of these policies, including spamming and other fraudulent or illegal activities, very seriously and we reserve the right to block or delete the accounts of those responsible.

We work hard to remove listings that are reported to violate our policies as quickly as possible, and to check bad actors that try to game the system by altering business descriptions once they are live on Google Maps.  We encourage users to let us know when they see something that might violate our guidelines by using our “Report a Problem” tool, found at the bottom right corner of the map.”

Perhaps Google needs to include the ‘report a problem’ button in the listing itself. The ‘Report a problem’ link at the bottom of the page is far too small and nondescript: it’s barely noticeable.

Earlier today: Google might get into trouble for this: the new Google maps being rolled out has listings for escort services, call girls and gigilos, all over the Central Park area of Rajiv Chowk (Connought Place) in Delhi. A MediaNama reader, who doesn’t wish to be named, for the fear of being subjected to jokes about searching for call girls on google, was trying out the new Google maps and alerted us to these listings. These listings are visible only at
maximum zoom level. What’s noticeable here is that these are listed under the ‘lingerie store’ category, and some of these listings appear to be via Google Plus, even with ratings. For example, see this.

This could be someone’s idea of a prank, because many of the listings mentioned websites which did not exist, and out of the 8-10 links we tried out, only one appeared to be a functional website, most did not open, and two were domain placeholder pages. We didn’t call the numbers mentioned in the listings.


Whether this is a prank or not, it does begs the question: how have these listings been allowed on Google Maps? How does Google Maps moderate listings? More pertinently, why is there no procedure for reporting listings on Google Maps. We’ll update with Google’s response once we receive it.

What’s also worth keeping in mind is that if Google moderates listings on Maps, under the IT Rules, it knowingly allows their listing. In that context, like we’d mentioned in case of 99 Acres and a discriminatory real estate listing by a broker, they are probably better off without moderation, because they cannot be held liable for it. What is important, though, is for Maps to have a reporting mechanism, and Google to have a grievance officer.

In the meantime, in case you spot any such listings on Google Maps, while “trying out the new Google Maps” (wink, wink), do let us know.

Balu adds: I clicked on the Google Maps link to this ‘service’ Nikhil sent me and now I hope it doesn’t show up on Google Now as a nice little card telling me how many minutes it’ll take me to get there.

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