My Map or Yours
Evgeny Morozov, a writer and researcher who studies political and social implications of technology, published an article that was picked up in many countries about the new personalization of Google Maps and how it could end public space as we know it.
Although this article makes a good point in the influence of personalization and how far Google is getting into that, it forgets a very important point that was described by Mark Monmoniers’ book “How to Lie with Maps“. This lively, cleverly illustrated essay on the use and abuse of maps teaches us how to evaluate maps critically and promotes a healthy skepticism about these easy-to-manipulate models of reality. Monmonier shows that, despite their immense value, maps lie. In fact, they must. Keeping this in mind, Google is just taking this to the next step.
If Morozov is right, than Google Maps would truly live “The Software Approach to Fixing Cities“. Although I think we have to be sceptical about the influence of Google on our lives and the way it controls this, it doesn’t change the city yet. It does change it perception of it, but that is what any map will do.