In a small mountainous border state adjacent to Tibet there lies a place named Arunachal Pradesh. A location governed by India but claimed by China, Arunachal Pradesh has been the cradle of irritating dispute between the two nations for decades. A dispute that was to be resolved in just a few hours in New Delhi, where Indian and Chinese negotiating teams would sit down to talk the issue over. That is, until the search engine that we know as Google branded what both countries knew had Indian place-names with Mandarin characters, turning Arunachal Pradesh into a “virtual annex of the People’s Republic”.
In a matter of minutes the virtual world turned against Google accusing the corporation for being biased towards China or to having conspired with them only hours before the issue was to be dealt with. Angry Indian bloggers called Google out and held them completely liable saying that “The Chinese know how to time their statements ahead of a bilateral meeting.” In turn Google tried to recall their mistake all over the internet, everywhere the issue came up they posted one statement anywhere one looked; “The change was a result of a mistake in our processing of new map data,” Google proclaimed. “We are in the process of reverting the data to its previous state, and expect the change to be visible in the product shortly. So Why did Google have that “perfect set of Chinese names lying around, ready to swap in for the Indian ones?” well Belgian blogger argues that there is a Chinese firewall “ditu.google.cn” which already had a database with Chinese names for the region built into it.
Geens also comments that “data intended for the China map must have ended up in the global map.” And the question remains whether or not the whole situation explains the geopolitics in today’s age of neogeography.
Just 5 years since the release of Google maps, Google has become the most important map maker and the corporation has become known as the agnostic cartographer or a peddler of...