Google accepts Libyan square name-change after rebel assault

Summary:Google confirmed that it renamed 'Green Square' back to 'Martyr's Square' in central Tripoli, Libya, after rebel forces stormed the city.

As the rebel fight for the Libyan capital city continues, a key square near the Gaddafi compound was captured by opposition forces. Naming it "Martyr's Square", Google accepted the name change last night.

Known as Martyr's Square before Gaddafi renamed it to "Green Square" -- the colour of the flag symbolising the dictator's hold to power -- rebels restored its name when pro-Gaddafi forces lost the square to opposition fighters.

Google accepted the user-submitted change on its popular mapping web service, but not without erring caution.

(Source: Google)

In the edits file attached to the Martyr's Square pinpoint, one moderator added a note, saying: "This name change doesn't reflect the actual facts but used to manifest political views".

But to appease those searching for the square, old and new names of the square were added in both Arabic and English to reduce confusion.

A Google spokesperson told ZDNet that editing and allowing user-submissions to Google Maps is part of an effort to "continuously explore ways to integrate new information" to the mapping service.

While Google appears to be politically neutral, the search giant vets and moderates all changes to its maps.

"We've built our map from a wide range of authoritative sources, ranging from the public and commercial data providers, user contributions and imagery references.

Overall, this provides a very comprehensive and up-to-date map, but maps are constantly changing along with the real world, so we'll continue to review data and make changes as new information becomes available."

Google would neither confirm nor deny the reasons behind the name change, adding: "a user submitted an edit that went live in Google Maps after it went through both our manual and automated review process".

Yesterday morning, as further battles raged between forces in the Libyan capital city, the main ISP switched back on the Internet connection to the country, allowing social media to explode in the short few hours it was live.

Though the battle for Tripoli continues, it is looking likely that the Western world, at least, is accepting Gaddafi has lost his legitimacy in government.

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Topics: Browser, Google

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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