Phone Numbers Missing from Google Local Listings

The blogosphere and twittersphere are abuzz this morning with discussion of missing phone numbers from the listings within Google Local.

Previously, there would have been phone numbers next to the Google Map listings.

There are many theories as to what has happened, including:

  • They’re cleaning up the interface.
  • It’s in anticipation of a new call-tracking offering from Google.
  • Desire to push more traffic into clicks rather than calls.
  • Bugs within the Google Local Business Center.
  • Google has a lack of confidence in the accuracy of the phone numbers in their system.

A more nefarious idea comes to my mind. Take a look at a result from the paid local listings Google is testing in San Diego and San Francisco:

The paid listings have a phone number, and the free listings do not. Google wouldn’t be trying to bias the traffic to the paid listings, would they?

I think what bothers me the most is that I’ve already finished up my presentation for PubCon next week, and now I have to redo all the screenshots.

Update: Google has confirmed that it was a bug, and the phone numbers are back.