Google Maps in trouble over racist search that points to the White House

racist google maps search white house
Google Maps screencapture by Lulu Chang
Open source software may have its advantages, but every once in a while, someone reminds us of why we just can’t have nice things. On Tuesday, a number of Google Maps users were alarmed by the the very disturbing discovery that searching the racial slur “n—- king” directed them to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, or as it’s more commonly known, the White House. The same results were achieved with a search for “n—- house.” If anyone needed proof of the ongoing existence of racism in the United States, there are now literally directions for it.

Following this overt display of racism, poor taste, and all around foolishness, Google announced that they were “temporarily disabling editing on Map Maker” as they “continue[d] to work towards making the moderation system more robust.” A spokesperson for the tech company stated, “Some inappropriate results are surfacing in Google Maps that should not be, and we apologize for any offense this may have caused. Our teams are working to fix this issue quickly.”

Unfortunately, the issue does not appear to have been fully resolved quite yet, as a current search of “n—- house” still zooms in on the presidential residence. The offensive searches are not just limited to the White House, however. Depending on your location, a slew of impolite terms will land you in different places — for example, searching “shit hole” in New York City takes you to Lexington Market in Baltimore, Maryland, while the same search in London, England, according to the Guardian, places you in White Hart Lane, Tottenham Hotspur’s football ground.

This certainly isn’t the first time the Web application has been abused. Just last week, an image of an Android urinating on the Apple’s logo appeared in Pakistan. But to be fair, Maps has also been used for more innocent and amusing purposes, like Google Naps, which shows you all the best public napping places in your city.

Searching your own name on Google Maps will also yield interesting results. For example, Maps seems to believe that I am currently at the Manhattan Cricket Club, a place I visited once months ago. Accurate? No. Creepy? Absolutely.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: 1-handed drone control, a pot that stirs itself

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Gaming

Feeling nostalgic? Here are the 25 best Sega Genesis games

Although the company has since fallen into obscurity, Sega was an indisputable titan throughout the '90s. That said, here are 25 best Sega Genesis games that helped define its fabled decade.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'The Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in November, from 'The Witch’ to ‘Dracula’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Mobile

These 100 best iPhone apps will turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

The iPhone is the most popular smartphone in the world, and we want to bring out the best in yours. Behold our comprehensive list of the best iPhone apps, from time-saving productivity tools to fun apps you won’t be able to put down.
Computing

Our favorite Windows apps will help you get the most out of your new PC

Not sure what apps you should be downloading for your newfangled Windows device? Here are the best Windows apps, whether you need something to speed up your machine or access your Netflix queue. Check out our categories and favorite picks.
Social Media

Twitter boss hints that an edit button for tweets may finally be on its way

Twitter has been talking for years about launching an edit button for tweets, but it still hasn't landed. This week, company boss Jack Dorsey addressed the matter again, describing a quick-edit button as "achievable."
Mobile

Lyft’s new rewards program promises ride discounts and comfier cars

If you're always hopping in and out of a Lyft car, then you'll be pleased to hear that the ridesharing service is about to launch a rewards program. Perks include discounts on future trips and upgrades to comfier cars.
Mobile

The world’s first smartglasses showrooms open in Brooklyn and Toronto

Canadian startup North is hoping smartglasses will be the next big wearable. After announcing its new Focals smartglasses in October, the company opened product showrooms in Brooklyn and Toronto.
Deals

Here are the best Apple Watch and Fitbit Versa deals for Black Friday

Apple products are the most sought-after products for Black Friday, the leaked preview ads show what discounts retailers will have for the Apple Watch Series 3 and other smartwatches, such as the Fitbit Versa, this holiday season.
Deals

Black Friday 2018: The best deals so far

Black Friday is the biggest shopping holiday of the year, and it will be here before you know it. If you can't wait until November 23 to start formulating a shopping plan, we've got you covered.
Mobile

Master your new Nokia 7.1 with our favorite tips and tricks

At $350, the Nokia 7.1 is a nearly perfect budget phone. It has a gorgeous body, good hardware, and a capable camera. Recently purchased the Nokia 7.1? Here are a few of our favorite tips and tricks to get you started with your new phone.
Photography

Get up close and personal with this telephoto lens for your phone

Moment is replacing its aging 60mm telephoto lens with a new 58mm tele lens, redesigned from the ground up for the latest iPhone, Pixel, and Galaxy phones. Mount it onto the phone via a case and get closer with 2x optical zoom.
Mobile

Samsung Galaxy S10 could nix the notch in favor of a "punch hole" cutout

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.