Google Maps and Search labeling Abortion Clinics

Google Maps and Search will now explicitly mark healthcare facilities that deliver abortion services. They’ll also keep facilities with other services, like veterans hospitals.

It’s another adaptation made in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision to topple Roe v. Wade and end the federal guard for abortion.

Searching “abortion clinics near me” will now allow users to notice which places are confirmed to offer abortion services. If Google doesn’t have assurance, the label will read “might not provide abortions.” If there aren’t outcomes nearby, it’ll give an alternative to expand the search distance away.

The move comes after a report that Google Maps shows emergency pregnancy centers which do not furnish abortions and often circulate misinformation about the safe medical practice when someone searches for abortion clinics. Analysis from other groups had comparable findings: the Center for Countering Digital Hate, for instance, discovered that 37 percent of Google Maps searches near abortion led people to anti-abortion clinics.

Google’s new approach does not expressly flag or limit quests for crisis pregnancy centers, which U.S. lawmakers asked for in a letter in June. However, yelp took that step, announcing Tuesday that it would add a note to crisis pregnancy centers warning users that they might furnish “limited medical services.”

Google’s labeling system will also lay to other facilities that deliver specialized services, like veterans hospitals. “We’re now cruising out an update that makes it easier for people to find places that offer the services they’ve searched for or broaden their results to see more options,”

Google Maps started as a C++ desktop program created by brothers Lars and Jens Rasmussen at Where 2 Technologies. In October 2004, the company was formulated by Google, which converted it into a web application. After additional accessions to a geospatial data visualization company and a realtime traffic analyzer, Google Maps was founded in February 2005.

The service’s front end employs JavaScript, XML, and Ajax. In addition, Google Maps delivers an API that allows maps to be embedded on third-party websites and provides a locator for businesses and other organizations worldwide.

Google Map Maker allowed users to expand and update the service’s mapping worldwide collaboratively but was discontinued in March 2017. However, crowdsourced assistance to Google Maps was not suspended as the company announced those components would be transferred to the Google Local Guides schedule.

Google Maps’ satellite panorama is a “top-down” or bird’s-eye view; most of the high-resolution imagery of cities is aerial photography taken from aircraft flying at 800 to 1,500 feet (240 to 460 m), while most other imagery is from satellites. Much of the available satellite imagery is no more than three years old and is updated regularly.

For example, Google Maps formerly used a variant of the Mercator projection and, therefore, could not accurately show areas around the poles. In August 2018, the desktop version of Google Maps was updated to show a 3D globe. However, switching to the 2D map in the settings is still possible.

Google Maps for Android and iOS devices was released in September 2008 and featured GPS turn-by-turn navigation and dedicated parking assistance features.

In August 2013, it was determined to be the world’s most popular smartphone app, with over 54% of global smartphone owners using it.

In May 2017, the app was reported to have 2 billion users on Android, along with several other Google services, including YouTube, Chrome, Gmail, Search, and Google Play. In 2007, Google began delivering traffic data as a colored overlay on top of roads and motorways to characterize the speed of vehicles on particular routes. In addition, crowdsourcing is used to receive the GPS-determined locations of many cellphone users, from which live traffic maps are produced.

Google has remarked that the speed and location information it collects to calculate traffic conditions is anonymous. Options available in each phone’s settings permit users not to share information about their location with Google Maps. Google noted, “Once you disable or opt-out of My Location, Maps will not resume sending radio information back to Google servers to discern your handset’s approximate location.”

On May 25, 2007, Google unleashed Google Street View, a feature of Google Maps providing 360 panoramic street-level views of diverse locations. On the release date, the quality only included five metropolia in the U.S. It has since grown to thousands of locations globally. In July 2009, Google started mapping college campuses and surrounding paths and trails.

Street View garnered much debate after its release because of privacy concerns about the uncensored disposition of the panoramic photos, although the views are only taken on public streets. Since then, Google has muddied faces and license plates via automated facial recognition.