Google Fights Back Against Fake Business Profiles and Local Reviews

author image Written by: Nicole McCormick           Categories - In The News

Google Removes over 75 Million Fake Business Reviews in Major Crackdown

Take a hike fake business profiles. Google Maps is waging a battle against fake content, as evidenced by a recent rampage where Google removed over 4 million fake business profiles and 75 million policy-violating reviews from Google My Business. According to a recent blog post, Google has been tackling the issue of inappropriate content on Google Maps using automated detection systems like machine learning models. These tools are being used to scan millions of contributions being sent to Google Maps everyday and remove any policy-violating content. “Like any platform that welcomes user-generated content, we have to remain vigilant against inappropriate content—the vast majority of which is removed before anyone actually sees it,” said Google. “And as more people contribute to Google Maps, we continue to crack down on the bad actors who violate our policies, using a combination of people and technology to tackle unwelcome content.”

#FakeReviews Who?

When it comes to fake reviews, Google’s systems are pretty diligent, checking each and every review for signs of fake content before it gets published. via GIPHY So how exactly can Google detect fake content? Essentially, its machine learning models are on the hunt for specific words and phrases, examining patterns in the types of content an account has contributed in the past, in order to catch any suspicious review patterns. Even still, Google says, fake reviews do slip through the cracks from time to time, which is why it has also been deploying teams of fake content warriors, AKA trained operators and analysts, to audit reviews, photos, business profiles, and other types of content. And as an extra layer of security, Google also makes it easy for anyone to flag fake reviews, inappropriate content, and misleading places for removal. https://twitter.com/Google/status/1230229180295602176

By the Numbers

Think that’s impressive? You haven’t heard anything yet. Google says that in total, it receives over 20 million contributions every day – that’s more than 7 billion contributions a year! However, keep in mind that the majority of these contributions are in fact legitimate, with only one percent flagged as policy-violating content. Even still, as a result of its efforts over the past year, Google was able to pull off the following feats:

  • More than 75 million policy-violating reviews and 4 million fake business profiles removed
  • Over 580,000 reviews and 258,000 business profiles taken down due to user reporting
  • Over 10 million photos and 3 million videos that violated our content policies removed
  • 475,000 user accounts disabled

Still thinking of posting fake reviews? Better think again, as the almighty Google has vowed to continue developing new tools and techniques in order to fight the good fight against “bad actors” and preserve the sanctity of contributed content. “Contributed content is an indispensable part of how we’re making Google Maps richer and more helpful for everyone,” said Google. “With people’s contributions, we’ve been building a truly helpful map that not only gets you from A to B, but also helps you find the places and experiences that are right for you, whether you need to tackle last-minute gift shopping or have a craving for pizza.”

Nicole McCormick

Nicole is a wordsmith wizard, passionate about the written word and an avid storyteller who uses creatively crafted prose to help bring your brand’s story to the next level. A former journalist with writing credits in both local and national news publications and a few newspaper awards under her belt, Nicole now enjoys telling your stories and finding new and creative ways to create valuable content that resonates with audiences in the digital landscape.

Google Introduces New Curbside Pickup & Delivery Features for Local Businesses


Good news for local businesses that have adapted their business model during the pandemic – Google is launching new features that allow users to see a business’ curbside pickup and delivery options along with other important information within Google Maps and Google My Business.

Such information includes:

  • Delivery providers

  • Pickup and delivery windows

  • Delivery fees

  • Order minimums for delivery or pickup

Google is starting off small, and will be rolling this feature out only for Instacart and Albertsons Cos. stores in the U.S. However, there are plans to expand to Maps and other partners later on.

Google is also currently testing another feature that would improve the curbside pickup process for customers by providing real-time updates between the customer and the store.

Here’s what this would look like:

A customer places an order for curbside pickup on the store’s app and it gets added to Google Maps. Google will notify the customer when it’s time to leave to pickup their orders, and ask them to share their estimated time of arrival (ETA). Their ETA will be continuously updated depending on the customer’s current location and traffic flow. When they arrive, customers can check in on the Google Maps app, and even let the store know where they are parked, and someone will bring out their order for curbside delivery.

Google will begin testing this feature with grocery store chain Fred Meyer in the summer of 2021, but only in select stores located in Portland, Oregon. It is unknown if this feature will be rolled out to include other stores and locations.

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Users Can Now Upload Their Own Photos to Google Maps Without Leaving a Review


Google Maps is making it easier for businesses to leverage user-generated content by allowing users to create helpful content within the app. 

The first update allows users to share their experience with a particular business through photos in Google Maps. Previously, users could only do this when leaving a review. The goal is to make it easier for users to share and find local business recommendations and treat Maps as more of a casual, social platform.

“With all the change our world saw over the past year, people are relying more than ever on high-quality, updated information about the places around them — like if a nearby restaurant is open or if a local grocery store has updated hours,” said Kevin Reese, Google Maps’ Director of Product in a recent blog post.

“To make sure your map reflects the real world, we make it easy for anyone with a Google account to contribute their local knowledge about more than 200 million places in Google Maps. These community-led updates help people everywhere make better decisions about what to do and where to go.”

The photo update option is essentially just a photo uploaded to Google Maps with a short description.

Users can add a photo update by finding a certain location in Maps and clicking the Updates tab. There, they can click on “Add a photo update” and upload as many photos as they please.

Google Maps Community Challenge

Google is also launching a new community challenge pilot that will encourage users to contribute reviews, photos, and updates to the Google Maps platform. The goal is to update over 100,000 business profiles in just one month.

Users can participate by going to the Contribute tab and clicking “Join the Local Love challenge.”

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