Do you have multiple locations for your business? Are you a doctor that has offices in several locations? Want to be listed in Google Maps?
Well, you would need to have a unique phone number per location to be in accordance with the Google Places guidelines. It reads:
Provide a phone number that connects to your individual business location as directly as possible, and provide one website that represents your individual business location.
- Use a local phone number instead of a call center number whenever possible.
- Do not provide phone numbers or URLs that redirect or "refer" users to landing pages or phone numbers other than those of the actual business.
One business owner wants to do it the "smart" way by having one phone number that is smart enough to know which office to ring. Kind of like how Google Voice markets their product by giving you one number that rings all phones or specific phones based off of time of day or who is calling or other criteria.
A Google Business Help thread has a business owner who wants a centralized number for the business, despite its various locations.
I should note, that Google does practice what it preaches, for the most part. Just check out their locations page.
Anyway, this isn't a new policy, it is just something I spotted in the forums.
Forum discussion at Google Business Help.