Google is testing a service that allows users to speak over the phone to an advertiser they've found through a Google search.
Called ‘Click to Call’, it involves advertisers in the ‘sponsored search section’ placing a phone icon next to their advertising which, when clicked on, displays a field into which the user can enter their phone details. Google then uses this number to link the advertiser and the user.
The service is free to the user and advertisers are expected to pay a few pounds for each connected call.
Such a service looks set to become the norm as voice over IP (VoIP) services become commonplace. Ebay has already stated that it will acquisition VoIP provider Skype to offer a new advertising service and Yahoo is currently testing a service. AOL launched a service through Ingenio in April.
Google has stated that it will not retain phone numbers for more than a few months and that it will also supply the advertiser's number onscreen to the user so that they have the option of calling direct. Advertisers will not receive the user's phone number.
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