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Friday, February 25, 2011

Google drops reverse phone number lookup
By Roger Browne

One of the earliest specialist services provided by Google was reverse phone number lookup. If you used the “phonebook:” or “rphonebook:” operators together with a 10-digit US phone number, Google would show you the owner of that phone number, unless the number was unlisted.

Google no longer provides that service. Not surprisingly, there was no press release marking the closure, but Google employee Daniel Russell has acknowledged the closure of the service in his blog. He hints at the possible pressures leading to the shuttering of the service:

“As you can imagine, this was an endless source of hassles for people (who were surprised to see themselves searchable on Google) and for Google (who had to constantly deal with all of the takedown requests and outraged letters from folks who thought they were unlisted).”

Daniel points out that you can still do a forward phone number lookup. If you enter a name and a US zip code, a phonebook onebox will be displayed showing the person’s phone number and address. The name must be entered exactly as in the phone book, and the number must not be unlisted.


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