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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Google Maps Taiwan Debate Continues

Because Google redesigned their maps service, the left info area shown here isn’t available anymore.

Just a short while ago, when you searched Google Maps for “Taiwan”, you would see an info area to the left and the map to the right. The map always read only “Taiwan”, but in the info area to the left, Google wrote “Taiwan, Province of China.” This caused some heat from the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to which Google replied their definition was consistent with international naming conventions (e.g. those followed by the UN). Now earlier this month, when Google Local and Google Maps merged into one service, Google got rid of the left-hand info area when you search for countries (this includes the snippet “Taiwan, Province of China”), showing the map full-screen instead... and apparently, this now angers the Chinese government.

Naturally, Google’s Debbie Frost argues their “change wasn’t deliberate.” Of course not – Google wouldn’t change the appearance of all of their service just to settle this political issue. Whether or not they’ll add the “Province of China” bit onto the map itself remains to be seen.


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