A couple things I’ve seen recently on Google have given me pause to think. Both of the items in question exist because of the fact that my parents moved recently.
First, Google has a feature that lets you do a reverse lookup on phone numbers. My parents’ phone number still leads to their old address, even though the move happened eight months ago now.
Similarly, Google maps does not know that the neighborhood they live in now (it was newly built) even exists! Putting the street address into any online mapping service, not just Google, dumps you into the middle of the closest town, with not even an error message that the address couldn’t be found.
I can’t find any sort of policy that states how often these things get updated. And I’m sure these aren’t the only examples of such inaccurate data on the web. It’s all well and good to do an excellent job of putting traditionally print data online, but what if it never gets updated? A new phone book is sent out every year. I’ll be interested to see if the online equivalents do the same.