General Question

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

Google Privacy: Has anyone noticed that Google has started asking for phone numbers to attach to new email addresses?

Asked by DarlingRhadamanthus (11266points) July 6th, 2010

I have a few email addresses…personal, business, blogging, etc etc. I launched a new blog and wanted to get another (separate) email for the blog. They asked me for my phone number. I thought that was a little too invasive. I have never had to give my number for an email address before!

Is this only in the UK? Anyone else experienced it? I suppose my concern is that this is more Big Brother stuff. You post something that is controversial (politically or voice an opinion that may not agree) and there you go. I suppose that there is the argument of “finding tawdry members of society” involved in bad activities but I often wonder if there isn’t another agenda of completely tracking everyone where they are.

Anyone else experience this? This is for an email address——not an internet service. Do other email services do this? (Hotmail, Yahoo, etc?)


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22 Answers

jrpowell's avatar

It looks like this has been going on for a few years. But it is only used when to many accounts are being created from the same IP. I can understand why they would do it to prevent spammers from signing up a bunch of accounts from the same computer. Are you using a proxy or a network where a lot of people share the same IP?

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I just opened a new gmail for shopping yesterday and it didn’t ask for a phone #, I’m in the USA. Most sites I shop do ask for a phone number and I always supply a false because I get furious receiving text spam that gets charged against my texting plan.

Fenris's avatar

I have a complete google profile. health records, bank records, they have my phone number, address, birthdate, important legal, school and business documents – the works. It saves my doctors and business group time and money, and all the parts work together very well.

But if I had to dissent in a manner that isn’t protected by a constitutional right (and I have a big advantage in the USA [sorry everyone in the rest of the Americas for all the US folk calling themselves just American], since the Constitution and Bill of Rights are worshiped next to and as sacred as God himself here), I wouldn’t be using a service known to work with the DHS and other agencies with a history of datamining, now would I? The only thing that exists on the internet is math – you can be any number of people you want to be.

Google is convenient, but dangerous in the hands of ignorant, stupid people. Just like any other tool.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

@Fenris…I’m not quite sure….what you are getting at? You gave all your information, but you….don’t agree with what Google does? I couldn’t quite make out your meaning? (I am honestly attempting to figure out your stance….help?)

El_Cadejo's avatar

I just made another gmail the other day. (this is my 4th account) and it asked for my phone number so that i could be text messaged my conformation code to activate the account.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I just created one right now for job resumes and I didn’t have to give a phone number.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@Neizvestnaya how many accounts do you have though? I think its like jp said after so many they start asking.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I opened one yesterday and one today which brings the total to over 5 so far. I make a new one for jobbing every year, discarding the old and sometimes forget the shopping ones so I just make new.

jaytkay's avatar

Maybe OT, but you can create separate Gmail addresses without opening a new account.

1) Google ignores dots, so these three are functionally the same

2) Google ignores text after a ”+” sign.
So all these will be delivered to

You can set up filters to label, delete, whatever email using the ”+” trick.

jrpowell's avatar

What @jaytkay suggests is a great thing that I have been using for about a year to track down where spam comes from.

If I sign up for a new account on a random site I will use the ”+” trick so I can see who is giving out my e-mail addy. If I get spam to it comes to me but I know who sold my e-mail info or is spamming me.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@Neizvestnaya hmmm i dont know then. I may also be wrong on how many i opened i forget about a lot of them.

I did find it really odd though that they were asking my phone number.

DocteurAville's avatar

I am sure they do that as they want to provide you with the best and useful internet tools. Free of charge, of course. I guess if one enters the wrong phone number, they may have a tool of their own to cross that info with you ip location and, prompt back at you with an error message: “we do not take faked phone numbers, please revise and submit once more… ”

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

So what if you don’t have a phone number?

Fenris's avatar

@DarlingRhadamanthus : I assure you, my stance on google is as conflicted and confused as you think. On the one hand, centralization of all my information has been a great convenience. On the other, I know fully well that all the information I give Google is in the hands of the government, being cross-referenced by a dozen datamines.

I hate this last point, but the fact is that privacy and security are a myth. So, I make sure all the information Google has on me is politically correct, and anything less savory or ‘standard model civilian’ just doesn’t get posted using google services or my actual name.

If they’re going to have all the information they can feast on about me, then they will eat what I feed them, and I will feed them at my own convenience. So – I like data centralization, but hate the fact that Google popped their evil cherry years ago. There’s services that are much more secure, but not centralized. Google knows nothing of privacy, but they do use strong security and make my datamining of my own life (documents, info, etc) easier. I would use more secure, more anonymous methods, but the DHS’ favorite motto is that privacy is for pornographers and terrorists – and in light of this, what better place is there to hide, than out in plain sight?

jaytkay's avatar

@Fenris There’s services that are much more secure, but not centralized. Google knows nothing of privacy, but they do use strong security and make my datamining of my own life (documents, info, etc) easier.

I’ve never quite been able to explain to myself why I don’t mind Google’s comprehensive hold on my online self.

“Datamining myself is easier” explains it in four words.

ninjacolin's avatar

google is our leader, obey obey obey!
haha. sorry, i’m a big google fan. one day they’ll be evil but they aren’t yet.. as far as I can tell. i’m stuck wondering if giving in to them will endear them more to our favor or push them over the brink of morality. For now, I seem to be pretty happy with most of what they do. what i’m saying is.. i wouldn’t worry about it just yet. you don’t have to give any more info than you’re comfortable with.

Buttonstc's avatar


I’m curious about the need for them to text you a confirmation code. Is that what it specifically said or did you just deduce it?

The main reason for my Q is that obviously they know that not everybody has a cell phone enabling them to receive text mssgs.

What is someone with only a landline supposed to do?

El_Cadejo's avatar

@Buttonstc i couldnt procedd to log in or do anything for that matter until i entered my cell number for the texting. I looked around for another way around the whole issue as im a bit of a privacy on the interwebs freak but couldnt find anything.

i also remembered googles golden rule “do no evil” so i said fuck it and submitted. Maybe its all a ruse :P

Buttonstc's avatar

Wow. That’s kind of scary in a way. So someone without a cell is SOL then. Interesting.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@Buttonstc correct. But i still think its like jp said, a account number thing.

downtide's avatar

I have long ago got nervous about Google’s invasiveness, and I haven’t used a google account for over a year now. I use GMX for email, which allows you to set up 10 different email addresses on one account. Out of curiosity I went to the gmail account creation and I wasn’t asked for a phone number (though I didn’t complete the process). I am in the UK. So yes maybe it’s an issue of having too many accounts?

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

Hi guys…...Thanks for all the responses.

This is interesting. Just on a lark, I went to one of my (non-main) addresses. This one was for my home business. I used that one to generate an invite to get another google addy and that one went through fine. So, it isn’t all the time, apparently?

Yes, the first time (when I wrote the posting) they asked me for a CELL PHONE number to send a CONFIRMATION number that I would have had to type into a box on the registration online form. So, I don’t know what someone without a cell phone would do in this case.

@downtide…Thanks for the heads-up on GMX. In general, I am a bit wary about the Big G. And if you notice…everything is getting linked up to it.

Lurve coming to all of you…...for your insights and generous responses. And we all just need to be careful, I suppose.

Thanks again.

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