Google apologised to businesses that experienced a new form of 'spam' on their business listings on Google Maps, with their companies reported as being closed, presumably by rivals.
The New York Times reported on a specific case in the US where Coffee Rules Lounge was listed as "permanently closed" for a few days. The search engine giant allows members of the public to report businesses as closed and this will then be visible to other customers searching for products via the maps service.
It is possible to report such closure notices as "not true" but some businesses have complained that the problem keeps occurring.
The NYT reported that blogger Mike Blumenthal was so upset at Google's lack of action that he 'closed' Google's own offices in California. Surely enough, the Mountain View complex itself was reported as permanently closed.
Google product manager Ethan Russell blogged: "we've been working on improvements to the system to prevent any malicious or incorrect labeling. These improvements will be implemented in the coming days."