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News - Date: 14 July 2017
Written by: Anton van Zyl / Viewed: 859
It might not qualify as the “crime of the century”, but it is still a sad loss. It seems as if Google has “stolen” one of Louis Trichardt’s streets. Yes, Grobler Street is no more.
In their defence, it must be stated that Google did replace the street with something else. In the place of Grobler Street, a strange extension of Meyer Street has appeared.
Perhaps a bit of background for the benefit of the readers not aware of the crime:
Some more observant residents of the Soutpansberg pointed out a few weeks ago that Google Maps no longer shows Grobler Street, one of the main streets in the town’s CBD. The street has been renamed to Meyer Street, which creates a bit of a conundrum, because the existing Meyer Street (opposite Bergwater Hotel, where it meets Rissik Street) is still there.
The disappearance of a street in the CBD is a serious matter for many residents. A number of businesses are situated in Grobler Street and these businesspeople may wonder whether people using GPS devices relying on Google Maps will be able to find their shops.
In an era where technology dictates how we respond to problems, the first option was to point out the error to Google. This was done via Google Maps’ data-error reporting function. Not long after that, the friendly computer at Google sent an email, stating that “Your suggestion is being reviewed. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.”
A week later, after not receiving any further acknowledgement for the knowledge shared, some more options were explored. A decision was made to “google” and find out how one can contact Google’s press department. Surely, they must have a dedicated team issuing press releases and telling people how everyone can contribute to making information more reliable. After all, Google is not supposed to be an evil, narcissistic and know-it-all company.
It turns out Google’s press department is not very reachable. The official link supplied (www.google.com/intl/en/press/) only returns a 404 error. As Google quite correctly identifies: “That’s an error. The requested URL /intl/en/press/ was not found on this server. That’s all we know.”
Seeing that Google has managed to lose more than just a street, we went one step further and contacted Mr Richard Gingras, Vice President, News of Google. At the time of our going to press he had, unfortunately, not responded to our email.
For the immediate future, it seems as if Louis Trichardt will have to learn how to cope without a Grobler Street. With the press of a button a street name disappeared. An unknown, unreachable entity seems to decide on such issues. Very soon you may find that, when searching for a street in town, you will get the message: “That’s an error. The requested street was not found on this server. That’s all we know.”
On the positive side, someone else remarked that the problem of the “ladies of the night” might now disappear. These working girls used to frequent Grobler Street, ensuring that the lights emanating from the street poles are not wasted. But they will probably just move their work addresses to Meyer Street…
Anton van Zyl has been with the Zoutpansberger and Limpopo Mirror since 1990. He graduated from the Rand Afrikaans University (now University of Johannesburg) and obtained a BA Communications degree. He is a founder member of the Association of Independent Publishers.