Myth Blaster: Google Feature


mapquest1Diane S., Wisconsin, sent this for Myth Blaster query and states she already tried it and it works …
The issue is concerning that by entering a phone number into the Google search engine one can produce a home address and a map with directions to that address. The email circulating about …

Beware the New Google Feature!
Type your home telephone number into Google’s search bar and click the search button … MapQuest returns with a physical location of your phone number.
People could use this feature to locate your home address, and receive explicit directions on how to get there from anywhere in the country.
You can remove your name off this database. To do this: Type in your full phone number – using dashes – like this: 555-123-4567. If your number appears in the mapping database, an icon resembling a telephone will appear to left of the entry on the results page. Click on this icon and it will take you to a page containing a description of the service, and a link to request your number be removed!

Myth Blaster Verdict: TRUE.
Typing a phone number into the Google search engine will produce a display menu, which shows the name and address connected to that phone number. The issue of this Google service being an “invasion of privacy”, Snopes makes a few points:

This feature is not “new” – the Phone Book service has been offered by Google for several years now.
This feature does not work for every phone number. Some classes of phone numbers, such as unpublished phone numbers … will not display.
The information displayed is compiled from a number of publicly accessible sources and is not unique to Google. …
Google has simply combined two different services readily available on a number of different web sites: reverse phone directory look ups and mapping/driving directions services. …
…the Google PhoneBook feature may be troubling to those who value their privacy, but it’s a symptom and not a cause. … The public has been making privacy gains through the implementation of laws such as those requiring credit bureaus, phone companies, and motor vehicle bureaus to offer “opt-out” features which provide customers with means to restrict the distribution of their personal information …

So, while what Diane has mentioned that there is an “opt-out” at Google, it is likely that information is already compiled into data from elsewhere. Of course, anything that can help when one wants privacy helps and I am not discouraging anyone to letting Google know you want to remain private or at least as that service is concerned.
You can go directly to the form that removes your listing at Google PhoneBook Name Removal page. 
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