It’s not a set of keys, or a pair of glasses, but a city with a population of 90,000. However, for at least a month this summer, Google’s computers managed to “lose” the city of Sunrise, Florida
What Google has described as a “technical error” meant that people who searched Google Maps for the city were directed instead to Sarasota, Florida, a city 200 miles away. Businesses, addresses and phone numbers all disappeared, leaving no record that Sunrise existed.
The city’s mayor was not happy about the situation. When he heard of the problem he was in disbelief, he told CNN. “It felt like a bizarre novel- that all of a sudden we disappeared. We woke up one morning and we didn’t exist in the ether world.”
The city used to be called ‘Sunset’, until developers realized that ‘Sunrise’ would be a better name to attract new people. But ‘Sunset’ would certainly have been more fitting during the city’s period of non-existence. “My new customer Web orders is almost zero,” Sherry Tannozzi, owner of a local shop, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel before the problem was fixed. “The revenues are down… the people can’t find us. They can’t find the city mayor, they can’t find the police department, they can’t find a dentist, a plumber, a tire changer.”
It’s terrifying to think that if Google doesn’t know a city exists, it actually kind of doesn’t.