Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Google Donkey Mystery Solved [Updated]

    There is a tremendous kerfuffle over accusations that a Google Street View vehicle ran over a donkey in Botswana.  If you've not heard of this before, here's the short version from the LA Times:
A scene captured by a Google Street View vehicle in Kweneng, Botswana, that went viral Monday seems to show the car hitting and possibly killing a donkey on the road.
The scene is still visible on Google Street View: The Google vehicle appears to come up upon a standing donkey before knocking it over.
But Google has a different version of the incident and insists the animal is fine.
"Our Street View teams take the safety of people and donkeys very seriously," Google said in a statement. "A review of our imagery confirms that we did not cause any harm to the donkey."
    Given that vehicles in Botswana drive on the left, here are some screen shots that prove Google's version.  These scenes are available by hitting the down arrow on the original image.  As the other vehicle approaches, the donkey is visible next to it on the left, standing up.  As the Google vehicle approaches and the dust clears from the other vehicle, there is the donkey rolling in the dirt, as donkeys are wont to do.  You can even see the marks in the dirt where the donkey has been rolling:

    And then the "after" shot.

    The donkey is fine.  Google's "Do Not Evil" is intact.  At least as far as the donkey is concerned.

UPDATE:  Good grief.  As if I haven't wasted enough time already, there's an even easier way to see what nonsense this story is.  Start here with the "dead donkey" picture, click the up/forward arrow once, and then pan to the left:

    VoilĂ ! Here is the donkey, standing on the side of the road next to the Google vehicle.  If this donkey was hit, then he threw himself under the bus... so to speak.


  1. Absolutely correct. The Googlemobile came up to the donkey, stopped, then waited for it to get out of the road -- at which point its cameras restarted, capturing the donkey at the side.

    All very obvious, once you realize that this former British protectorate drives on the left.

  2. I blame George W Bush.