Updated: Google is finally testing out its Click-to-Call system. (Greg Yardley first reported this news, but I have been slow in getting around to it.) It has been a long time coming. I have been waiting for this since I wrote this piece in September. I […]

Updated: Google is finally testing out its Click-to-Call system. (Greg Yardley first reported this news, but I have been slow in getting around to it.) It has been a long time coming. I have been waiting for this since I wrote this piece in September. I believe this is the right strategy for the company to extend its core competence: attaching ads to anything that can be served up as a web-page.

The text ad model had been getting a long in the tooth, and perhaps voice is the application that will help them attract local advertisers. It will also put them on equal footing with Microsoft, which recently showed off their click-to-call offering. Mind you, it lacks the ability to display locations on the maps with click-to-call features built in, at lease for now. (If anyone has seen map-based ads with click to call, do let me know!) The new ad-system also allows them to compete with eBay-Skype.

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.

As Rick pointed out, this doesn’t seem to be as true a click to call as the one I saw at Microsoft’s demo, I am pretty certain it uses the VoIP technology to transport the calls to the point where it hits the PSTN network. I am waiting for the experts like Aswath to write in. This does not leverage the desktop client. Okay does this service remind you of the switchboard operators of the yore ;-)

It seems to be a limited beta. Incase you folks were wondering who that third party supplying technology for this service, I will get that information to you tomorrow after I confirm the name of the company. I know which one it is, but still want to make sure before I get the word out!

Alec Saunders has posted on his weblog, how the system likely works. Venkatesh weighs in as well. Aswath thinks Call Me Link is a better option.

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  1. As I understand this Google click-to-call from Keating’s post, it isn’t voip, rather phone to phone. You have to type your phone number, so that it calls your phone.

  2. Om, what do you mean “not working on a Mac” ?
    It seems to work fine on Safari and FF 1.0.4 for Mac.
    For which browser/version and Mac OS version did you see a problem?

  3. i am currrently using the camino browser, and well, the mac browser is not showing any random click-to-call ads. however i saw some when using a PC browser. just thought it might be something others say it as well.

  4. anyway since it was creating confusion, i ended up editing out the mac line.

  5. OM,
    As you said its not a VoIP thing “yet”. Its just call redirecting via a third party. Its on the lines of AOL-Ingenio “per per call” concept. But I don’t think it would take much to make it a “click to call” via Google Talk. Besides for smaller advertisers, they cannot have 24/7 call centers to take these calls, so it would be convinient for them to have a call back number to pursue any leads when people are available.

  6. venkatesh,

    from what i understand is that they are using voip as transport – not using “voip client on desktop” for now. i think it would be, as you point out, fairly easy to bring this “desktop client aka google talk to call out functionality” to the market for them.

  7. Google Click-to-Call works fine with the Camino browser on OS X (I just tested it). Even if you still think there’s a problem, I’d appreciate it if you didn’t make blanket statements about Google or Mac OS based on an anecdotal experience in a very non-standard configuration. I appreciate your interest and reporting on Click-to-Call though.

  8. Hey, I just used that click-to-call thing yesterday from Canada (a Customer Service tool used by TD Canada Trust Bank), and it was pretty cool. I got a call instantaneously from their customer service person – a live person at that!! No waiting listening to elevator music etc. The only glitch in this grand scheme of things was that I still did not get the work done for which I made the call!! So, in the end, it’s the ‘behind-the-scenes’ processes that have to be upgraded so that the company derives the maximum value out of these tools.

  9. VoIP: Here Today! — Alec Saunders .LOG Thursday, November 24, 2005

    [...] Google’s Click-to-Call beta yesterday is generating some interesting comment about the nature of VoIP over on Om Malik’s site.  I’m sure that Google is terminating the calls on PSTN handsets, because the vast majority of the custooers wanting to wse the service do not yet have VoIP softphones, and may never have softphones.  Wireless phones are ubiquitous. [...]

  10. Ok, I will “”PLAY”””” along======I am Guessing eStara=======what do I win with the PRIZE OM??????


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