Google Offers Click-To-Call Service

Matt Mickiewicz

Google, always innovative, is now testing a “Click-to-Call” service as part of their AdWords offering.

Under certain keywords, some people will now see a phone icon alongside AdWords listings (for screenshots, see Greg’s Blog Posts).

The Click-To-Call FAQ explains how this new service works:

When you click the phone icon, you can enter your phone number. Once you click ‘Connect For Free,’ Google calls the number you provided. When you pick up, you hear ringing on the other end as Google connects you to the other party. Then, chat away on our dime.

We won’t share your telephone number with anyone, including the advertiser. When you’re connected with the advertiser, your number is blocked so the advertiser can’t see it. In addition, we’ll delete the number from our servers after a short period of time.

Some of you may remember FindWhat’s (now Miva’s) Pay-Per-Call program, which worked by charging advertisers based on in-bound calls to a 1-800 number. While Google removes some of the friction, by having advertisers call the users, but their system is susceptible to prank-call abuse.

It’ll be interesting to see what Google’s pricing is like (FindWhat used to charge a minimum of $2/call), as well as whether or not they revert to a “you call us” system to prevent abuse.

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  • pdxi

    Please excuse me if this is a silly question, but: Why is this service important or useful? I can’t imagine myself using this.

    This is either an oversight on my part, or Google is doing something very strange and unintuitive.

  • JeremyCade

    Google, always innovative, is now testing a “Click-to-Call” service as part of their AdWords offering.

    How is click to call innovative exactly? It’s not exactly new technology, nor is it a new application of that technology.. The only difference here is that it’ll be on a larger scale.

  • http://www.SitePoint.com Matt Mickiewicz

    It’s innovative in the sense that they are pushing the boundaries of their advertising system — first it was CPM based ads, then they launched CPC based advertising, then they extended that with AdSense and site-targeted advertising, then they began testing print advertising in magazines & newspapers on behalf of their clients, and now they are beginning to charge some advertisers on a per-phone-call received basis, based on phone numbers that someone enters into an online form.

    It’s innovative in the sense Google is the only ad network/ad provider that charges companies for phone calls that the business makes to the customer (FindWhat/Miva charged for inbound calls to dedicated 1-800 customers)

  • http://www.designity.nl peach

    I think most people would rather view a website before they call the company that runs it -_^

  • Anonymous

    @ Matt

    Looked at this space a while back and Google approach WILL pay out…

    If they have local hops and VOIPs the cost per a call will be nill, ONEBOX had a fax system like this.

    People will use this & companies will pay for it… (think yellow pages and I did a plumber, laywer, roofer, etc.)

    Next they will have it via cells…

    VERY COOL!

  • http://hervard.net/ Hervard

    I wrote a post on my blog about Click-to-Call, and how you could theoretically put in other people’s phone numbers and “prank call” them.

    View the post…

  • Anonymous

    This is an important development. As we near the end of 2005, search engines like Google are addressing the needs of small businesses that do not want to spend money building a website. Trade professionals like plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and others will want to bridge the gap between local adverting and Internet advertising.
    And by using pay-per-call services from MIVA, Google, and Yahoo UK, small businesses without a website can finally tap into the millions of potential customers that are using the Internet to find products and services.

  • Ang

    almost 7 years after Nortel (and many others at the time) had the same “click to call” capability for enterprises to add to their web pages
    http://www.devxnews.com/article.php/46781
    but it’s Google and it’s 2005 and web 2.0 etc etc so it’s “innovative”.

  • Anonymously

    @ Ang

    For the clicker, here is the difference…

    Nortel’s tech is “click to call” them and pay for it and let them have you phone number to market to you later.

    Google’s tech is “click to talk” without paying money and they don’t get any personal info unless you give it to them.

  • daniel

    I think you are right. But this is really an important one.