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.