Google Debunks Dead Donkey Maps Image

With all the antitrust issues surrounding them lately, the last thing Google needs is another group upset by their business practices. But, after pictures taken by a Google Street View car in Botswana surfaced on the Internet, people were suddenly up in arms in discussion.

Why? The Street View images appear to show a donkey in the road in one frame, then down on the ground across the tire tracks in the next frame, seemingly struck by the Google vehicle.


As pictures of this variety typically do, it natrually went viral.

This prompted a response from the Google Maps team in the form of a blog post, appropriately titled "Never ass-ume," in which the team uniquivically denied that Google's driver struck the donkey and suggested that perhaps it was simply taking a dust bath, as donkeys like to do. Google said the donkey was lying in the road as the Street View car appoached, then got up and moved away before the car reached it.

To prove their point, the Google Maps blog post inclues four additional images that include views of the car, clearly indicating directionality. Through these images, it is clear the car is travelling toward the donkey and as the vehicle approached, the donkey then got up. Not the other way around.


Treating it as an expose and comparing the situation to the Zapruder film from the Kennedy assassination, the Los Angeles Times suggested that their readers indicate there was another vehicle involved on the road before Google's vehicle even got near the donkey.

One LA Times user even compiled a video and posted it on YouTube to demonstrate the concept. If you go backward about eight frames, you'll see the other car appear. Go back 10 frames and you'll see the donkey – alive and well – as the other vehicle approaches.

Google wins another round of scrutiny. The nay-sayers and Google haters can't pin this one on Google because we all know what they say about people who assume things.

About the author

Thom is a seasoned techincal SEO and digital analytics veteran. His current role as VP of Development and IT at Internet Marketing Ninjas includes the improvement of internal processes, leading the creation and refinement of industry-leading tools across multiple brands.

Previously he was a premier independent consultant, held a a senior search position at nationally renown TopRank Online Marketing and led all digital web-related technology's at Rochester Institute of Technology's Saunders College of Business. He also led analytics strategy efforts for the university's mobile initiative.

Part of the ClickZ Academy faculty, Thom has also taught for several well-respected colleges and universities. He is a regular speaker at ClickZ Live events and is a veteran of TEDx as well.