By reader acclaim: sues Google over map instruction

Lauren Rosenberg of Los Angeles “is suing Google because Google Maps issued directions that told her to walk down a rural highway. She started walking down the highway — which had no sidewalk or pedestrian paths — and was struck by a car.” [Sarah Jacobsson, PC World; Seth Weintraub, Fortune (“If Google told you to jump off a cliff, would you?”); Lowering the Bar; BoingBoing, Search Engine Land]


  • Out of curiosity, did she specify in the directions request that she was walking and not taking a car? There is that option.

  • paging Dr. Darwin, Dr. Charles Darwin – you’re need in Utah.

  • Free advice is seldom cheap. In this case she got what she paid for.

  • Either the risk was obvious or it was not. If it’s obvious, Google could not have been expected to warn her of it — did she expect them to tell her to look both ways before crossing the street? If it was not obvious, then the flaw is in the road and its design — hazards to people walking along roads must always be obvious, otherwise a person with no source of guidance would be at risk of them.

    There is simply no possible way this could conceivably by Google’s fault. This is the perfect example of a nonsense lawsuit.

  • An update to the story at PCWorld indicates the plaintiff claims it was dark out and Google instructed her to cross the road, where she assumed there was a sidewalk. Not that it matters a whole lot.

  • Question: Why does Laura Rosenberg cross the street?
    Answer: So she can sue Google!

    Apparently, Google Maps directed Rosenberg to cross the street, and she figured it was leading her to a sidewalk. Young says that it was dark outside, and there were no street lights, and Rosenberg had never been in the area before, so she was relying on Google to know where the sidewalks were at. She was, in fact, struck by Patrick Harwood’s vehicle when she attempted to cross the street. There was no crosswalk.

    She was hit crossing the street. How can that be Google’s fault? Does Google have to tell her to look both ways before crossing the street?

  • […] When drivers say faulty driving instructions caused their accident, should someone else have to pay? [Tom Vanderbilt, Slate] Earlier on the Google Maps pedestrian suit here. […]