Google Maps Apologizes for Hitler Square Gaffe

Google apologized Friday for a glaring mistake on its Google Maps service which identified Berlin's Theodor-Heuss-Platz by its Nazi-era name, Adolf-Hitler-Platz.

Google said it quickly made a correction as soon as it was informed of the mistake. The error was online for only a few hours yesterday.

In a statement, the company said that while people can make suggestions about name changes they are "reviewed either by the community of mapping volunteers or Google moderators."

"In this particular case, the change in the street name was mistakenly approved, and we fixed it as soon as we were made aware," the statement continued. "We apologize for any offense caused."

Theodor Heuss Platz in Berlin, Germany is seen on a corrected Google Maps screenshot. Theodor Heuss Platz in Berlin, Germany is seen on a corrected Google Maps screenshot.

Google told Germany's BZ newspaper, which first broke the story that "they had no explanation for the incident, but are now investigating the error."

The square was first named Reichskanzlerplatz in the early 1900s when it was constructed. It was named after Hitler in April of 1933 until the end of World War II. From 1947 to 1963, its name was returned to the original, and then it was named after West Germany's first post-war president, Theodor Heuss.

Material from Der Spiegel and AP was used in this report.

VOA News / Jan. 11, 2014 09:57 KST