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Problem with Areas Served and Hiding Address on Google Places

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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.

Google Places Areas Served Bug

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.

On the bright side, usually Google Places bugs are closely followed by major changes. One could only hope there will be some improvement of the current situation.

Your thoughts?

  1. abeen
    abeen09-20-2011

    yes, i did came across such error in the service areas. Tried hiding address, clicked on edit to check if it has been hidden but it was not. Also, while choosing postcard for verification, system error pops up.

  2. mark
    mark12-14-2011

    Does anyone know whether Google results are different when choosing between the two options, whether customers are serviced at their homes or have to physically come to the location? I once read that the farther out the distance served, the weaker the chances are that Google will display the site. Thanks.

    • Nyagoslav Zhekov
      Nyagoslav Zhekov12-14-2011

      The results should naturally be different. However, they are not. Google currently does not take the distance as a factor in their local search algorithm. Distance, however, is a major factor. So it is true that the farther the distance from the point of search (the place where your customer physically is) the lesser the chances for them to find you through a local search.

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