Taiwan Not Happy With Being A Chinese "Province" In Google Maps

Via SEO Book, Taiwan tells Google it is not a China province from Reuters has Taiwan asking Google to stop calling it "Taiwan, Province Of China" on Google Maps, as you can see here. Out of curiosity, I went looking at a few other hot spots to see how Google was handling them.

Macedonia is labeled that way on the map but identified as "The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia," which I gather is the UN preferred name for the country. The country itself uses "The Republic Of Macedonia," which is recognized by several other countries, including the United States.

As for Cyprus, the Republic Of Cyprus is shown to occupy the entire island of Cyprus except for the two small UK-run Sovereign Base Areas. In reality, the Republic Of Cyprus occupies two-thirds of the southern half of the island, with the northern third occupied by the Turkish-backed Turkish Republic Of Northern Cyprus.

As I understand, the UN and all governments other than Turkey recognize that the Republic of Cyprus has sovereignty over the entire island, so perhaps Google might argue the label is correct. But the border between the two areas is very real, as anyone who has to cross it knows. The map simply doesn't reflect that physical reality.

How about MSN Virtual Earth? I'd say it escapes criticism in two of three cases, because it doesn't supplement the map labels with descriptions. In other words:

  • Taiwan is just labeled as Taiwan, with no mention of it being a province or not of China
  • Cyprus is just labeled as Cyprus, and while a dividing line is shown, no further labels are given to say what portion is part of the Republic of Cyprus.
  • Macedonia is called FYROM or FYRO Macedonia, so the choice there isn't open to interpretation. MSN is going with the UN-backed name, rather than the name the country prefers.