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Google Maps Flooded with Over 11 mn False Listings

The company says it is working on new ways to report suspicious business profiles and directed people to report fraudulent activity on its Business Redressal Complaint Form

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With thousands of new fake accounts being added every month, Google Maps is flooded by about 11 million false listings and phone numbers that reroute to competing businesses.

The majority of businesses that are not at their listed locations and the ones most prone to these scams include contractors, repairmen and car towing services, The Verge reported citing a study by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on Thursday.

They’re internally referred to as ‘duress verticals’ at Google, as they are companies people turn to in emergencies and typically without much time to verify the business’ credibility.

Though Google claims in a self-funded 2017 academic study that only 0.5 per cent of local searches are false listings, a separate investigation by the WSJ suggested otherwise.

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Google Maps. VOA

The study found 13 of the top 20 Google search results listed false addresses and only two were real businesses that actually adhered to Google guidelines.

Though Google typically verifies if a business is legitimate by mailing a postcard, calling or emailing a numerical code to enter into a Google website, the system is easy enough for scammers to bypass with fake addresses and phone numbers, affecting real businesses as well as customers, the report added.

Also Read- Facebook Brings New Measures to Curb the Spread of Hate Speech on its Platform

The report comes a day after the search engine giant announced that it is giving businesses more options to customize their company profiles on search and Maps through its My Business feature.

The company says it is working on new ways to report suspicious business profiles and directed people to report fraudulent activity on its Business Redressal Complaint Form. (IANS)

Next Story

Google Maps Now Adding Support for Bike-sharing Stations

Besides, the search engine giant has introduced features like Augmented Reality (AR) navigation feature and off-route alert feature on Maps as well

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A man walks past a Google sign outside with a span of the Bay Bridge at rear in San Francisco, May 1, 2019. VOA

To make Maps more useful for users, Google is adding support for bike-sharing stations to let people be informed on docked bike sharing services near them.

The feature has been testing in New York City for the last year and is now expanding to 23 more cities including Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Budapest, Chicago, London and Los Angeles among others, The Verge reported on Tuesday.

The new integration is made possible from data provided by Ito World, which provides information on where to find a bike-sharing station, how many bikes are available there and whether or not there’s a space waiting for you to dock your bike when you arrive at your destination.

The feature is being rolled out to Android, as well as iOS devices and even though the feature has not reached India as yet, Google plans to expand the feature to other countries shortly.

On a similar issue, on December 2018, Google Maps gained a feature to direct users towards shared Lime scooters and bikes, the report said.

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Google Maps is flooded by about 11 million false listings and phone numbers that reroute to competing businesses. Pixabay

Since the beginning of 2019, Google has been testing and introducing several new features on Maps.

After running tests in the US and elsewhere, earlier in May, Google rolled out speed limits and mobile radar locations in over 40 countries, including India.

Also Read: Here’s Why Instagram Users Want to ‘Throw Away’ the App Now

In July 2019, Maps also added more than 45,000 community and public toilets as part of the Central government’s “Loo Review” campaign that covers 1,700 cities in India.

Besides, the search engine giant has introduced features like Augmented Reality (AR) navigation feature and off-route alert feature on Maps as well. (IANS)