Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Google vs China

Many people might recall reports of conflict between Google and the Chinese government.

During the summer of 2011, I happened to be using Google Maps and entered instructions to get driving directions from "China" to "Taiwan."  GM produced some surprising results, which I was sure would disappear at sometime in the future, so I took a screen-shot to preserve the moment.

Below is the screen-shot which I have preserved for posterity. Point A is the start which is Bejing, the capital of China and point B is the destination "Taiwan."

I've annotated the surprise in this version … as you read it keep in mind that these are supposedly driving directions.  Click on the image to see the whole thing.

If you try this today you'll get a note that says:
"We could not calculate directions between China and Taiwan."  

Some reports of this in the summer of 2011, called the original result shown in the screen-shot an "Easter Egg," however, the fact that there isn't even a route now calculated might suggest that it was something else.