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Thursday, November 24, 2005

Google tests out Click-to-Call AdWords

Google is apparently testing out click-to-call AdWords - I can’t see it myself, but Seth just searched for ‘refinance’ and spotted some phone icons alongside the AdWords listings. He entered his phone number and within five seconds received an automated phone call, which connected to the purchaser of the AdWords listing when it had him on the line. Wish I had a screenshot for you (UPDATE: screenshots below) - but here’s how it works, direct from the Google Click-To-Call FAQ:

What’s the phone icon on Google search results? How does it work?

We’re testing a new product that gives you a free and fast way to speak directly to the advertiser you found on a Google search results page – over the phone.

Here’s how it 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.

Seems Google’s getting into the pay-per-call business. What are the rates, I wonder?

UPDATE: Screenshots!


Fig. 1 - phone icons appear alongside AdWords


Fig. 2 - opportunity to enter your phone number


Fig. 3 - connecting…


Fig. 4 - yep, you’re now connected to the advertiser.

A lot of business implications here but at the moment that little evil part of me is thinking ‘great, a single form-field way to pester others with crank calls from advertisers at three in the morning.’ Om Malik wrote about Google’s use of VoIP for commercial purposes back in September - I’m guessing the call made from Google to the lead (step 3 in the screenshots) is an early implementation of this. Of course Ingenio will be concerned - Google’s trying to eat their lunch.

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