Google Maps may have to review its process of approving suggested changes to names of places or entries in its service. It may also have to review the performance and judgment of its volunteer moderators. A small issue that recently occurred may spark another huge controversy.
An unknown user has recently suggested that Theodor-Heuss-Platz or Berlin Square in Germany should instead be known to the public as ‘Adolf-Hitler-Platz.’ Anyone may have hesitations approving such a suggestion especially if he knows that the subject is still a taboo among many Germans.
But a moderator in Google Maps instantly approved it. He did not just go through with that change; he even marked the suggested name as the single and exclusive name that Berlin Square should ever take. He made it clear that no other alternative name should be allowed for the place.
Google Maps moderator named ‘Vishali’ could be up for some serious trouble. To be fair with him, he has been a well-versed editor until this issue surfaced. He has approved over 24,000 edits in the service for the past year and a half. But this one lapse in decision may put his effort and hard work to trash.
Look back in history
But in fairness, if one would revisit history, there was actually a time when Berlin Square was actually named as ‘Adolf-Hitler-Platz.’ According to research, the venue had carried that name from 1933 until the period of the World War II. In 1947, its original name as restored—Reichskanzlerplatz.
In 1963, the square was again renamed after the death of the first federal president of Germany, Theodor Heuss. Thus, the name Theodor-Heuss-Platz has been adopted ever since.
Possibly no foul play
There is a possibility that the unknown sender meant to suggest a historical name as an alternate name for Berlin Square. He might have thought that the name should be displayed in reference to history. However, whatever his intentions may be, the name would not ever serve as a historical tribute that Berlin would be comfortable with.
Google Maps must have realized this. A Google representative has disclosed that the service immediately took down the suggested name after it was discovered and after some users complained about it. It took a day or two for that to happen. The Berlin Square is now listed as Theodor-Heuss-Platz again.