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Google Quietly Decommissions Click-to-Call from Maps

Google quietly decommissioned their experimental click-to-call services from Google Maps. Previously, you could use the “call” links beside phone numbers in their search results:

Google Maps Click to Call
(click to enlarge)

It’d be nice if Google would officially mention when they remove such features from service, even if they were considered experimental. Quite a number of people reported using the feature, and some were even reliant upon it for making things like personal long-distance calls from within companies that didn’t allow employees to do so, or where long distance was actively blocked. Google didn’t announce the change on the Google LatLong Blog [1] where you might expect, but instead stated it in a response to a user’s question in the Troubleshooting section of the Google Maps Help Group [2]:

Google Maps Click to Call Gone
(click to enlarge)

Of course, the service was introduced free, and no one can ever expect a free ride forever, and perhaps cell phones make click-to-call less attractive to users. Though, I would’ve expected they’d first see if they could get such a service to pay for itself through advertising before throwing it out altogether. For instance, each call could’ve been prepended by a brief audio ad or they could be displaying ads along side the call/maps interfaces while users were connecting through. Perhaps they just had trouble working out call quality issues.

For those users seeking a good voice-over-IP (“VOIP”) solution, I guess they can sign up for Skype [3].

Update: I see this has also been reported by Grant Robertson at downloadsquad [4].

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