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Caller ID By Google: You Need to Prepare for This

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By William Peacock, Esq. on November 06, 2013 12:01 PM

I just missed a call. By typing the phone number into Google, I was able to find out that it was almost certainly a spam call relating to some get rich quick scheme. Awesome. Thanks for wasting thirty-five seconds of my day.

In early 2014, Google may have a solution to this particular problem. They will be rolling out Caller ID by Google, which sounds both brilliant and invasive. For local businesses, Google will match their own data to the phone number to display the business's information on soon-to-be-released Android 4.4 phones. Hopefully, they can tag spam calls as well.

For you, however, they'll get their information, and caller ID photo, from a different place: your Google+ photo.

Great: Business IDs

Living in Silicon Valley, I get calls from 408 numbers regularly. Sometimes, it's the car dealership trying to reel me in for an oil change. Other times, it's a friend using a landline, the doctor's office, or a lost UPS delivery driver. At least for some of those business-related calls, my phone is going to tell me exactly who is calling, using local listings on Google Maps, reports Android Police.

Of course, if you run your own law firm, this could come in handy. Make sure your firm shows up on Google Maps and that the contact information is accurate.

Less Great: Cell Phone IDs

Many of us don't use landlines anymore. We use our cell phones for pretty much everything. And if Google's plans for Caller ID are implemented, your Google+ profile picture is going to pop up on any Android-based phone that you call.

That could be good, if your Google+ profile picture is part of your professional marketing materials. And, since we're all responsible adults, we've already gone through all of our social media accounts and taken down any embarrassing or unflattering photos, right?

If you don't want your name and photo popping up on someone's phone, make sure you adjust your settings. A Google+ post by a Google employee seems to indicate that you have to opt-in to have your photo displayed, while Engadget is advising that you manually opt-out. Either way, make sure the box is unchecked now, and double-check once the feature rolls out after the new year.

Creepy? Cool? Join the discussion on Facebook at FindLaw for Legal Professionals.

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