OMG- Say it ain’t so Joe! Phone Numbers Once Again Gone from the 3 Pack?

Chris Alphen of EarlyOftenNow just noted in a comment on my post about the reappearance of phone numbers in the 3 Pack, their disappearance!

Shoeless Joe Jackson[5]A quick check across browsers that were showing phone numbers, confirm that they are once again not showing. For those of you that are not following the drama, to the dismay of many, phone numbers were first removed from the pack on August 7th. Several users reported their periodic reappearance in tests. On Thursday AM (Pacific time), Jennifer Slegg reported their widespread appearance in an article titled: Google Returns Phone Numbers & Addresses to Local 3-Pack noting the general sigh of relief at their return. By Thursday evening they had started appearing worldwide and despite my initial caution I noted that they had in fact rolled out. Now, Saturday morning Eastern time they are once again MIA. Go figure.

As I said on Thursday and revised for today: However given the spread and frequency of visibility my current money is on a rollout not a test. Rollout in the sense of testing for the next 3 months days or so as opposed to testing this week.

Here is a Safari, Mac screen shot. I checked in Chrome and Firefox and via an overseas proxy and all show the numbers as missing.

Screen Shot 2015-09-26 at 9.03.50 AM

Test? Rollout? Brainfart? Your call I am done calling it.

Update: I have heard from UK and Japan and both have lost the number in the pack.

And for Dave Oremland, who feels he has some sort of right to be able to see the phone number in case he needs emergency services while serving up students at his bartending school, I offer up these:

Screen Shot 2015-09-26 at 9.27.49 AM

Screen Shot 2015-09-26 at 9.26.24 AM

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
OMG- Say it ain't so Joe! Phone Numbers Once Again Gone from the 3 Pack? by

6 thoughts on “OMG- Say it ain’t so Joe! Phone Numbers Once Again Gone from the 3 Pack?”

  1. Thanks for the update….and 😉 thanks for the link. (now if only websites that had relevance to a bar school would link to this informative article!!!!!!!!) (whatever they may be).

    Your reference to emergency clinics is a good one. Or to an emergency plumber. Suppose you need very fast, very important help. Google doesn’t want you to get it. Every other directory out there believes it would be important. Surveys state that people DO want phone numbers.

    Google doesn’t want you to have them. But they are the kings. So much for democracy.

    Like you, Mike, I would like to be a fly inside the google house to know what is going on, and (I believe like you) its futile to try and figure it out. They are ramping up changes in the local landscape at an incredible rate, since early August.

    When phone numbers went up they were not up for hotels, restaurants, b&b’s or others that had been struck by the crap pack about a year ago; just the ones that got effected from early August. Similarly phone numbers and addresses didn’t go up on mobiles.

    Could it have been a mistake on someone’s part? Could there be an insurrection inside google, wherein some people with a heart think people who need to find emergency health care or an emergency plumber deserve a phone number???

    Wouldn’t we all like to know??? Well so much for “having a heart”. I guess Google is getting coal for Christmas after all. 😉

    Mike: I have a question. Suppose I wanted to call one of these businesses? Do you think I should call Google instead??? Afterall they provide “knowledge boxes”. They must be smart. They must know everything. If I called would they answer? Would they give customer service?

    Oh well, bye bye phone numbers and addresses. Next time you want to find a local business and some specifics I’d suggest using a ouija board.

  2. thanks a hack provided by Tim Colling:

    the phone numbers reappear for the pack if adding “phone number” or just “phone” to the search query

  3. Thanks for the mention Mike. And the link. I’m honored.

    I think Dave is on to something. At least some of the people within Google have read, and advocate for the Google philosophy, published here as Ten things we know to be true.

    According to them it was written when they were just a few years old. In section 7 about researchers looking into ways to bring all the world’s information to people seeking answers you’ll find this:

    Once we’d indexed more of the HTML pages on the Internet than any other search service, our engineers turned their attention to information that was not as readily accessible. Sometimes it was just a matter of integrating new databases into search, such as adding a phone number and address lookup and a business directory.

    You could argue that phone and address info is still there. It’s just a couple of clicks away. But that doesn’t line up with what they say in section 3:

    We know your time is valuable, so when you’re seeking an answer on the web you want it right away–and we aim to please. We may be the only people in the world who can say our goal is to have people leave our website as quickly as possible.

    Or this one—the number one thing they know to be true.

    Since the beginning, we’ve focused on providing the best user experience possible. Whether we’re designing a new Internet browser or a new tweak to the look of the homepage, we take great care to ensure that they will ultimately serve you, rather than our own internal goal or bottom line. We know your time is valuable, so when you’re seeking an answer on the web you want it right away–and we aim to please.

    They also say right at the top that we can hold them to these things they know to be true.

    The real truth is we had a reliable source of addresses and phone numbers before the internet came along. Since Google blew up the Yellow Pages millions of non tech savvy individuals have had to learn how to do a basic Google search.

    Some things I know to be true are that many people use Google to get the number for their hairdresser, the address for a funeral home, or a number to call in a medical emergency that doesn’t require 911. Rarely if ever do they go beyond the SERP. Fear is a big factor. Is it any wonder with all the reports in the media of cyber-crime?

    Thanks to you Mike and to all your excellent followers here for all you do.

  4. …and they’re back again. At least, it looks like they are from where I’m searching. Anyone else seeing this?

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