Google Account Signup forces you to submit phone number if you use Firefox

A few weeks ago, I needed to create a Google Account since my college teachers have decided to use Google Classroom (yes, they are violating Google’s TOS by not using a Google Education Suite.). I have ditched all Google Services quite a long time ago and made my previous account dormant (There are a few YouTube videos hosted with it so I didn’t delete it). Thus, I decided to create a new account for the sake of Google Classroom. Started the standard procedure, went to Google, clicked Sign In, clicked Create Account.

Sign Up Page

Pretty standard so far. I fill in the details and this is the next page I arrive at.

Verify your phone number

Okay, I can’t skip this apparently. I am pretty privacy paranoid and I definitely don’t want to give my phone number to Google. So, I started thinking why would they need my phone number. The first obvious thought is that they require it for anti-spam. The next thought was if they require it for everybody. I take a screenshot and start ranting about it in a group of friends. One of them tries making an account and this does not show up for him. Weird, I thought. Turns out he was using Google Chrome. Instead after filling in the name and basic details, he is prompted with this page instead.

Enter details

I thought, that this might be because of the privacy addons I am using. So, I created a fresh firefox profile with no addons, no history, nothing. Just a stock Firefox browser. Same, still asks me for phone number to verify. I asked the same friend who did not get a request asking for phone number while using Google Chrome to try out via Firefox. Same results for him. I tried Chrome and I wasn’t asked for phone number either.

Here is the list of all tried combinations.

Operating System Browser Location Asked for Phone Number
Linux Firefox India Yes
Windows Firefox India Yes
Windows Firefox Europe Yes
Linux Chrome India No
Windows Chrome India No
Windows Chrome Europe No

So, to sum up, if we were using Firefox, we were forced to enter phone number. If we were using Google Chrome, we were not.