At some point, it had to happen. While Google Maps has proven to be one of the most useful applications in the Google ecosystem, users have been sharing errors (usually anecdotal) generated by the company’s geolocation service for years, capable of guiding a pedestrian along the worst possible path or occasionally lagging behind, ignoring changes in signage or offering vehicles to climb stairs. Until now, it had never been a problem because it was obvious and the driver’s eye could easily differentiate them, but recently it has been seen that this is not entirely the case.
The correct information led him over a collapsed bridge
Google has been sued by a family due to incorrect information provided in the Google Maps app that led to the patriarch of the family’s death. Philip Paxson followed his GPS instructions in the darkness, on a day of heavy rain, through an unfamiliar neighborhood, unaware that the bridge they were supposed to cross had collapsed. Unable to escape from the car after it fell into the river, Paxson drowned on this “bridge to nowhere.”
Even though it is always advisable to reduce speed and proceed with caution in conditions of low visibility or wet roads, Google cannot entirely escape blame. The local residents had alerted the company that the bridge had collapsed in 2013, after which they contacted Google several times over the past 10 years. However, it does not seem that Google will be held entirely responsible for the incident, as the collapsed bridge should have been marked with warnings. Unfortunately, it appears that vandals removed the warnings that could have saved the man’s life.
Google has expressed its condolences to the family and stated its intention to provide the best possible information through Maps. Furthermore, the company is currently reviewing the lawsuit.