Problem with Areas Served and Hiding Address on Google Places
Update 06 Oct 2011: Vanessa Schneider wrote the following on the Google Places Help Forum:
Folks, the workaround right now for the service areas checkbox issue: Just make sure the checkbox is appropriately selected or unselected before hitting submit.
What I understand from her comment is that once you select to show or hide your address on Google Places, you cannot change this. Note that I haven’t tested it myself yet, as I prefer not to make any changes during such “full of bugs” times.
Bugs on Google Places are usually either repetitive or known. However, this time it seems that a completely new glitch, which I have never previously encountered, has popped up out of nowhere. The problem occurs when someone tries to set anything in the “Areas Served” field from their Places dashboard.
During the past few days there were numerous reports on the Google Places Help Forum regarding issues with setting the service areas or hiding the business address. I asked on Google Plus if others are seeing the same, and it seems the problem is spread all around the world. This could be very frustrating for businesses that serve the clients at their home or outdoors, as well as potentially dangerous for businesses whose address should stay private. You can see some complaints here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.
According to the Google Places User Guide, businesses that designate service areas CAN choose not to show their address on Google Maps. Therefore, I believe this bug is causing privacy violations on Google’s side.