Google Local Adds Click to Call

The official Google Blog just announced the availability of a click-to-call feature in Google Local. This has been expected for some time, but it’s now official and it works well. Businesses you find in Google Local now have a call link included in search results. That link opens a javascript form to enter your phone number and calls both you and the business. I’ve been pestering businesses around my neighborhood this morning and though they don’t find it as fascinating as I do, I imagine this new feature will prove quite useful. I could call the listing on the right, for example and tell the business that its name is misspelled in Google Local.

The calls are powered by Google Talk and Skype, more VOIP under the covers, via an agreement made this summer. They are free on both ends. That agreement also included discussion of interoperability between Skype and Google Talk, something we’re still waiting for.

You might remember that this program was the subject of one of the bizarre hacked messages posted on the official Google blog. Persons unknown wrote on the Google Blog in October that “We finally consider click-to-call agreement with e-Bay a monopolistic aproach [sic] that would damage small companies in the CRM area.”

Windows Live Local has offered click to call for some time. Local search is a potentially lucrative space that’s seeing a lot of innovation right now. Note also that the Google Local logo includes the outline of Africa, ironic given how awful that and other map search programs’ coverage of that continent is.