A spokesperson for Google has confirmed the service they’ve launched in Vancouver and Toronto to connect potential customers to trusted service providers funnels customers through ostensibly local phone numbers that are actually owned by Google for the purpose of call monitoring.
Google Local Services is an addition to its search platform that connects potential customers to local service providers who pay for the advertising. It launched in Toronto and Vancouver last December for locksmiths and heating, cooling and ventilation professionals. When someone in Toronto searches for a locksmith, for example, they’ll see some service providers with green check marks next to the company name, meaning they’ve been vetted by Google.
The number next to the listing has a local area code, but that’s not the business’ real contact info. Instead, it’s a dummy Google number that will route you to the business — after informing you that it will be recording anything you say.