As has been widely reported, Bret Taylor (PM for Google Maps) sent a "take down" notice to gMerge because it was violating the Google Maps Terms of Service.

Many tech companies could learn from this example. The notice is polite, explains the situation, and was sent by a non-lawyer.

The Google Maps team recently noticed your Google Maps tile "stitcher" wallpaper maker at Google is always happy to see developers interested in our products and we commend you on the service. That said, we would appreciate it if you voluntarily remove your service and stop using Google Maps on your web site. The service violates the Maps Terms of Service available at, and jeopardizes our ability to make Google Maps available to the public because it encourages non-personal use of Google Maps.

If you have any questions or concerns, or if we have contacted the wrong people, please feel free to contact me directly. Otherwise, please let us know as soon as possible when the service has been removed.


Bret Taylor
Product Manager, Google Maps,

Well done, Bret.

Posted by jzawodn at June 09, 2005 07:35 AM

Reader Comments
# Gerald said:

Looks like polite worked. It's down.

Wish my buds at Apple had done this with some of my other buds.

on June 9, 2005 11:22 AM
# anonymous said:

I've seen a lot of companies that change their protocols to block such hacking or simply send lawsuits, but this is the first friendly takedown letter I've read. I would guess the Gmail Invite Spooler got the same sort of request.

on June 9, 2005 07:32 PM
# Danny Howard said:

"Don't be Evil" in action. :)

on June 10, 2005 10:10 AM
# spongebob said:

Seems to me that a standalone desktop application, greasemonkey script, or even a completely client-side AJAX-type application that does the same thing would not violate the TOS, since it is arguably a personal use of the service.

Redistributing the Google Maps content through another's website seems to violate their TOS, but I fail to see how a client-side application could. After all, the web browser is a client-side application.

on June 10, 2005 12:52 PM
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