Did Google drop the month of December, 2012 from its People app because it knew the Mayans were right? Was it the Fiscal Cliff personified in software? Is Google trying to outdo the Grinch in stealing all of December instead of just Christmas?
You’re a mean one, Mr. Google. You really are a heel. You’re cuddly as a cactus. You’re charming as an eel, Mr. Google.
Yes, I know those aren’t the actual words to the song from How the Grinch Stole Christmas as sung by Thurl Ravenscroft.
On the other hand, when Theodor Geisel wrote the original words, Google didn’t exist, and he likely never thought that anyone could actually steal Christmas.
But someone has. Or more specifically, a giant faceless corporation has disappeared the entire month of December. Fortunately, Google has promised to bring back December, 2012, perhaps by the end of the year. This means that Android 4.2 users who want to book important dates in December using the People app will once again be able to schedule holiday parties, birthdays, anniversaries or even New Year’s Eve parties.
Of course, this isn’t the only really stupid smartphone error that’s cropped up lately. I’m sure you remember the Apple Maps fiasco in which the iOS 6 mapping program dropped the bridge over the Colorado River into the river just below Hoover Dam, or moved the Washington Monument to the banks of the Potomac River. It would seem that if you wanted to go to a friend’s birthday party in December, you’d navigate there using your Android device, but have to look on your iOS device to actually know when and where the party was.
So how could such a colossal mistake happen in the first place? This isn’t quite like the Apple’s mapping error in which the mapping database had a number of errors out of millions of database entries. Google People is missing an entire month in the current year. How could this be overlooked?
Of course there are some who will say that Google, which has all of the world’s information somewhere in storage, actually knew that the Mayan Apocalypse would arrive on schedule and as a result didn’t see any point in including December 2012. Or maybe it was that Google decided to outdo the Grinch and not only steal Christmas, but the entire month of December.
But this is probably giving Google too much credit. Just as the navigation mistakes in Apple Maps probably wasn’t an attempt by Tim Cook to cause people (probably journalists) to drive off the edge of the Colorado River Canyon on their way to CES in January. For one thing, errors aren’t unique to Apple Maps.
I’ve tested most of the navigation software out there since the first days of aviation mapping programs and they’ve all had errors.