This racial slur leads Google Maps to the White House's doorstep

White House

At the heart of Google Maps is its search algorithm, which can be used to virtually travel to the Eiffel Tower or find a restaurant you were looking for, but didn't know the name of. However powerful, no algorithm is perfect.

Today, users reported on a glaring loophole in the way that Google Maps associates search terms with results that it surfaces. Several US institutions, like the White House and Howard University, could be found by typing the N-word and other versions of the word alongside "house" or "university."

White House

While no one is sure what's behind the search results, what's plausible is that Google's search algorithm learned to associate places with names that people call them around the internet, no matter how nasty.

Hopefully, Google acts soon to address how its algorithm associates landmarks with offensive racial slurs. We've asked Google for an official statement and will update this article as soon as we hear new information.

This is only the most recent issue to come across Google Maps' path. Less than a month ago, an Android logo was discovered urinating on an Apple logo. That image was put in by a user of the company's Map Maker edit tool, which has been temporarily disabled.

Update: Google has apologized for the racial slurs appearing in Maps.

"Some inappropriate results are surfacing in Google Maps that should not be, and we apologize for any offense this may have caused. Our teams are working to fix this issue quickly." a company spokeswoman stated.

Via Huffington Post

Cameron Faulkner

Cameron is a writer at The Verge, focused on reviews, deals coverage, and news. He wrote for magazines and websites such as The Verge, TechRadar, Practical Photoshop, Polygon, Eater and Al Bawaba.