Google Maps puts well-funded startup in the poorhouse

Right address, wrong era


You might figure that Thinking Phone Networks, a hot-shot startup that has attracted $16.5 million in venture funding and already employs 80 people, could afford nicer digs.


You'd be right, too. But enter the company's address into Google Maps, as a colleague of mine who was to visit the company did recently, and the above photo is what you get.

Not exactly a best foot forward.

Blame Google Maps. Right address: 54 Washburn Ave., Cambridge, Mass. The only problem is that it was taken one massive building renovation behind the times.

This next picture taken on Monday shows where the Thinking Phone Networks people do their thinking and phoning. Quite a transformation.


And a side view found online shows we're talking about a substantial building, too.


The Google Maps FAQ acknowledges that some satellite images can be up to three years old, and that there's currently no way of telling the age of any particular Street View picture. A Thinking Phone Networks fellow told me he'd find out the history of the building renovation and let me know, but, well, startups are busy places and that hasn't happened.

My colleague did pay them a visit and says the building is lovely inside.

(Update: As noted in comments by eagle-eyed reader PC_Backup, the Google FAQ page about Street View photos is more out of date than the Cambridge building's Street View photo, which at the bottom clearly shows that it was taken in August 2007. ... Coincidentally, the Google Maps team has a blog post today about Googlers "trekking the Grand Canyon" with cameras strapped to their backs. Perhaps when done with the canyon they could stroll by 54 Washburn Ave. in Cambridge.)

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