Google says that one of its Street View cars did not kill a donkey in Botswana, despite what images taken by that Street View car seem to imply.
As CNET notes, the images appeared to have gained steam earlier this week after they were shared on the Web by various users, including a Twitter account for the fictional "Dr. Sheldon Cooper," a character on the TV show "The Big Bang Theory."
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Depending on your direction of travel as you click through the map, the donkey appears either to meet an untimely demise, or to rise from a catnap in the road as the Street View car approaches.
Google insists it's the latter.
In a Google Lat Long blog post titled "Never ass-ume," Kei Kawai, a Google Maps group project manager, explained the controversy:
Over the last 24-hours concerned members of the public and the media have been speculating on the fate of a donkey pictured in Street View in the Kweneng region of Botswana.
Because of the way our 360-degree imagery is put together, it looked to some that our car had been involved in an unseemly hit and run, leaving the humble beast stranded in the road.
As our imagery below shows, the donkey was lying in the path - perhaps enjoying a dust bath - before moving safely aside as our car drove past. I’m pleased to confirm the donkey is alive and well.
SCREENGRABS of the donkey dust-up [via Google Maps]: