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What is the world’s best river?

Dan Kopf
The Volga River

The mighty Volga river runs for 2,348 miles though Russia, from the Valdai Hills to the Caspian Sea. Just as impressively, perhaps, it has a 4.7 rating on Google Maps (on a 0-5 scale). That makes it the world’s best major river, according to the average of nearly 6,800 online reviews.

One reviewer of the Volga says simply, “I love it,” along with a 5 out of 5 rating. “Good river. Nice, small at beginning, wide in the middle, very long,” another reviewer explains. But not all the reviews were so earnest and kind. “Dumb commies live here,” writes someone who gave it one star.

The idea of rating rivers, as if they were coffee shop or dry cleaners, may strike some as peculiar. Why does Google allow it? “Generally speaking, we allow ratings and reviews on places that have an address or are open to the public, and that includes places like castles, beaches, rivers and even mountains,” a Google spokesperson told Quartz.

Among the 53 rivers that the website Infoplease lists as the “Principal Rivers of the World,” the Volga is among four rivers that received an average rating of 4.7. We have deemed it the best river because it received far more reviews than the similarly rated Don, São Francisco, and Yenisei rivers. Only the Ganges and Nile have more ratings than the Volga.

Other noteworthy rivers that don’t appear on Infoplease’s list, like London’s Thames (4.4) and New York’s Hudson (4.5), still wouldn’t have beaten the Volga.

Among natural features, Niagra Falls has received the most reviews overall on Google Maps, with almost 89,000 people rating it, resulting in an average score of 4.8. It is followed by Iguazu Falls, with an impressive score of 4.9 from nearly 56,000 ratings.

Google says that it hopes people use ratings to make “informed decisions about what to do and where to go.” According to that logic, think twice about taking your business to Canada’s Nelson River (3.7) or the Niger River (3.8), which runs through a number of countries in Africa. There are higher-rated rivers out there.

 

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