Google Maps has redrawn the world's borders that look different depending upon where the user is viewing them from, with the popular search engine showing Kashmir's outlines as a dotted line acknowledging "dispute" when it is seen from outside India, a leading American daily has reported.
According to the Washington Post, "the borders on Google's online maps display Kashmir as fully under Indian control. Elsewhere, users see the region's snaking outlines as a dotted line, acknowledging the dispute".
From Pakistan, Kashmir appears disputed while from India, it appears as a part of India, the Post report said, adding that "Google Maps changes disputed borders based on what country you search from".
Responding to the Post report, a company spokesperson said: "Google has a consistent and global policy to depict disputed regions and features fairly, showing claims made by the disputed or claiming nations on its global domain.
"This does not endorse or affirm the position taken by any side. Products that have been localised to the local domain, such as maps.google.co.in, depicts that country's position as per the mandate of the local laws".
Google's corporate mission is "to organise the world's information", but it also bends it to its will, the Post report said, adding that with some 80 per cent market share in mobile maps and over a billion users, Google Maps has an outsize impact on people's perception of the world.
Headquartered in California, the company's decision-making on maps is often shrouded in secrecy, even to some of those who work to shape its digital atlases every day, the Post report said.
Launched 15 years ago, Google Maps has become one of the most-used and recognisable products for the search engine giant, it added.