Weird Google Places Bugs: The Smooshed Phone Number Bug

Update 5:00 PM EDT: Google employee Vanessagene notes in the forum: “Update: We have a handle on the issue now. Edits made from this point forward should not experience the phone number problem. As for the people that have already been affected, we’re still working on a fix for those accounts. We’ll keep you guys posted.”

Update 4:00: Joy Hawkins has reported in the forums that if you remove the phone number from the phone number field and add it back in and save the record, the display of the phone number will return to normal. I had to do this two times (where is that rubber chicken when I need it) for it to work. But it did work!

Update: I forgot to mention the important point that it seems to be triggered by updates to your Places dashboard!

Bugs keep cropping up in the Places Dashboard and Places. Yesterday I received the “No such State/Province in this country” message as did several other users. Today I am getting the “System Error – We’re sorry, but we are unable to serve your request at this time. Please try back in a few minutes” bug when trying to save a listing. I think Google Places Flu Season is upon us.

There are also at least four seven a large number of reports of a strain of bug not previously seen. Its official name: The Smooshed Phone Number Bug (otherwise known as SPNB1). It manifests itself by smooshing (a very technical geek term) your phone number together twice in the phone number field. The information is displayed in both Places and worse, on the main search results. Props to Linda Buquet for first pointing this bug out.

The bad phone number also manifests itself in the mobile search results and generates the obvious “Please check the number and dial again” response when dialed.

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Weird Google Places Bugs: The Smooshed Phone Number Bug by

20 thoughts on “Weird Google Places Bugs: The Smooshed Phone Number Bug”

  1. Mike thanks so much for blogging about the double phone bug I reported to you yesterday. I’m sure Laura from Attaboy Plumbing appreciates it too.

    Plus I tweeted the link to Vanessa today too and I see she’s on the case as well. Hopefully they’ll get some of these bugs out of the system soon.

  2. Ugh. Just did a little update to our listing an hour ago and – sure enough – we’ve been hit by the bug.

    The SPNB1 might be triggered by an update to the Places Page since it wasn’t there for us earlier this morning.

    The bad news is the bug also populates to Universal search and the 7-packs.

  3. @CathyR
    It does seem to be trigged by a Places Page update. And yes it appears everywhere…. nasty, nasty, nasty.

    Be sure to report it in the forum post.

  4. I too have the smooshed (more like duplicated) phone number bug. However, I had not done anything and don’t know how long it has been like that. Arg,,,

  5. @Gyi

    At this moment a vaccine has not yet been developed. We do not believe the disease to be fatal but it will like cause 7- 14 days of symptoms.

  6. I’d be curious to know if this could be rectified by submitting a feed (XLS document with location data in it). I haven’t been affected (thankfully!) but if you have, and you don’t have many locations, I’d love to hear if that fixes it.
    I’d also be interested to know if the smooshed phone number appears in the feed download file (Places lets you export the data as well as import).

  7. @Frank and Laura

    Joy Hawkins has reported in the forums that if you remove the phone number from the phone number field and add it back in and save the record, the display of the phone number will return to normal. I had to do this two times (where is that rubber chicken when I need it) for it to work. But it did work!

  8. You’re welcome Laura. Since I gave you the advice to edit your account I felt responsible even tho I knew that tiny edit could not have caused the problem. :-(

    But we know for sure now it was not just you and was pretty wide spread bug.

    Good thing I know Mike and emailed him right away last nite. And good thing he knows how to make things happen! Thanks Mike!

    Plus I tweeted the problem to Vanessa at Google this AM and she jumped right on it and helped a lot too. Thanks Vanessa!

    She just reported in the forum thread above that the problem is fixed now. SHE SAYS IT’S SAFE TO EDIT NOW. But they are trying to figure out the best way to fix listings that were already affected.

  9. @Laura
    Glad I could be of assistance.

    @Linda
    Sorry I did not credit you properly when I first ran the post. Once I saw that the reports were multiplying, I felt it urgent to get the post out to save folks the agro.

  10. @Jim B
    You have that right!

    @Linda
    I use the rule of threes… If I see it once it could be anything…. a google weirdness or operator head space or whatever. If I see the problem a second time my ears perk up… by the third time, it is clear to me that something is going on and its time to call in the cavalry.

    This became quickly clear that it was a bug that could affect a lot of people. Glad that Google has responded so quickly as well.

  11. @Jeffrey

    See 5:00 pm update above. Google (with Vanessa’s internal push) stepped up and fixed the problem very quickly.

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