In a bizarre twist of events, yet another company has come out complaining about anti-trust practices from search giant Google. Last week we saw Mocality, a Kenyan startup, allege that Google was scrapping data from its data base and which prompted Google to offer a very public and very embarrassing apology to Mocality.
This week it is Open Street Map who have come out with startling allegations that certain Google IP addresses were being used to maliciously damage the data on Open Street Map, one of the world’s largest maps. Open Street Map or OSM is like a Wikipedia for maps and uses crowd sourced volunteers to add places and content to its maps.
OSM reports that they have nabbed Google IP addresses originating in India and tied them to vandalism activities targeted at London, New York and other maps around the world. The vandalism includes deleting, moving and abusing OSM data including subtle edits like reversing one-way streets.
OSM was able to confirm however that there were users, at least two, with OSM accounts who have been involved in the vandalism. The mapping wiki also said that they have been hit by a staggering 102,000 hits of vandalism over the past year which originated from a cumulative 17 Google-owned IP addresses.
This latest hit on OSM comes after a lot of bad blood flowed amongst the employees of the mapping company after numerous hacking attacks made maintaining a credible mapping system a nightmare. Employees started complaining and a lack of motivation seeped in with co-founder Steve Coast voicing his disgruntlement and ultimately leaving the company to join Bing maps.
Google seem to be having a problem with their third-party contractors as more and more of these embarrassing events occur. There is no telling who else will come up and claim some form of ill deed from Google. Although it must be said that Google are not the best when it comes to dealing with horizontal management issues with most of their effort going towards protecting their precious ad dollars rather than building out the company horizontally.