When you’re my age and you read about wars and conflict in history books, everything always seems so formulaic and perhaps even a bit ancient. So I was surprised to see today, something that speaks a little more to my generation. Apparently, the Russian-invaded country Georgia that has been making headlines this month, has been wiped off the map of the world. Google maps that is.
With infrastructure being the first target of most conflicts, the search engine giant, Google, doesn’t want to be seen as helping either side with its mapping technology. The company has since removed all the details normally seen on Google maps of a country, that include roads, towns and cities in Georgia, as well as from the maps of neighboring countries Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Katie Hunter of Foreign Policy Passport points out that Google has been helping Georgia out one way, all be it indirectly. It’s prime blogging platform, Blogger, has been a key way to communicate with the masses for news service Civil Georgia and the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs; keeping score of the bombings in a hack-free environment. This has been especially vital given that since the physical conflict started, Russian hackers have sought to dominate the web by hacking Georgian websites that included the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, putting up an image that had Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili compared side-by-side with Hitler.
You have to admit. This is the kind of warfare that really speaks to the web 2.0 generation.