Late last week, a story broke about how a Google contractor was apparently scraping info from a Kenyan crowd-sourced phone directory
, Mocality, and then calling businesses pretending that there was a joint Google-Mocality venture for which businesses had to pay. Google responded that it was "mortified" by these actions, and are investigating them. However, ReadWriteWeb, is now reporting that the very same contractor has now been called out for vandalizing Open Street Maps
, the more open alternative to Google Maps that has been getting a lot more attention
lately. It appears the vandalism was deliberate, doing things that are hard to spot -- like reversing the direction on one-way streets.
Of course, Open Street Maps, like Wikipedia, is open to vandalism. That's just the nature of the game. But the fact that it was a Google contractor doing this looks especially bad, given the somewhat competitive nature of the products. As a company gets larger, there are certainly bad seeds who are going to get hired, but these two stories clearly make Google look pretty bad. It's so bad, it almost makes you wonder if that was the intention of whoever was doing it.