Google Drops Phonebook Search Operator

Google has dropped the phonebook search operator due to the massive number of requests from people to remove their phone numbers from Google.

I noticed it went missing this morning after spotting complaints in a Google help thread. Googler, John Mueller told me that it was removed and I can read more about this change on Daniel Russell’s blog. Russell is a Google employee and wrote about the feature being sunsetted.

Russell explained that this feature caused an “endless source of hassles for people.” Why? Some searchers were shocked to see their phone numbers and addresses listed on Google. And then Google had to handle “takedown requests and outraged letters” from these users. So Google’s solution was to drop the phonebook: and rphonebook: operators from bringing up phone numbers.

As I explained, you can still bring up phone numbers in Google. But to do so, you need to plug in the full name and zip code of that person. Here is an example of a Vanessa Fox in 54661:

Google Phonebook

As you can see from our Vanessa Fox’s article on this from last week, Google in the past showed all phone number results for all Vanessa Fox listings when you searched for [phonebook:vanessa fox]. This is no longer the case.

Related Topics: Channel: Consumer | Google: Web Search


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn


Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  


Other ways to share:

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.

Comments are closed.

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest


Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States


Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech

Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!



Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide