Google Maps is no stranger to controversy, anything that has to do with borders and neighboring countries is going to get dragged into decades or centuries old conflicts. Google's approach is to stay neutral, use the generally accepted nomenclature, mark disputed borders or display different names in different countries.
But that's not enough to keep it from being criticized, sometimes harshly. The latest such criticism comes from Iran and, despite the country's reputation for unwarranted pirates and propaganda, it's actually somewhat warranted.
Iran is criticizing Google, well it's outright accusing it of being in cahoots with the other Arab states, by not displaying the name of the Persian Gulf that Iran, which traces its history to Persia, and much of the rest of the world call the Persian Gulf, but which several of the surrounding Arab countries call the Arab Gulf.
The change is recent as Google used to display the Persian Gulf name. What's more, the old name, as well as the Arab Gulf alternative are displayed in Google Earth, which uses the same map data as the online service.
that not everything in the world is named in Google Maps, so this shouldn't be such a big deal. It wasn't able to provide another example than the Persian Gulf though. However, Google said that it didn't want to take sides and won't respond to Iran's accusations.
Iran on the other hand has much blunter terms
, it believes that Google's "fabricating lies" will only lead to users not trusting the company any longer. It continued by saying that its preferred name, the Persian Gulf, is backed up by many historical documents and is recognized by the UN and UNESCO.
Which is all true, to be sure, though that doesn't mean Google is lying about anything or trying to deny Iran's claim, since Google is simply washing its hand of the entire matter. But Iran loves any opportunity to uncover "evidence" of the West's campaign against the country.