Friday, November 17, 2006


Free long distance calls through Google?

  • Friday, November 17, 2006
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  • Google finished rolling out their click-to-call functionality on Google Maps today, but after reading an article on Valleywag about how to prank call other people with the service, I got thinking about how else the service could be abused. Although it's almost certainly against the terms and conditions, the new feature could theoretically allow users to make free long distance phone calls to any North American number.

    Since every business listing on Google Maps has the "click-to-call" feature enabled, the only thing you need to do is get listed. Now instead of dialing a long distance phone number on your phone, you "dial" it through your own business listing on Google Maps.

    What can Google do to prevent this from happening? Honestly, I don't think there is a solution unless Google starts charging businesses to have the "click-to-call" feature enabled. But with Microsoft Live Local providing the same feature at no cost, there isn't much chance that will happen any time soon.

    Google Adds Click-To-Call

    The Official Google Blog explains how it works:

    "Search for a business, like a hardware store, on Google Maps, and click the 'call' link next to its phone number.... Then, enter your phone number and click 'Connect For Free.' Google calls your phone number and automatically connects you to the hardware store.

    "There are two things that I really like about this. The business's phone number is automatically stored in your caller ID so you can easily call back in the future. And by checking the box to save your phone number, you can make future calls from Google Maps with just two mouse clicks (after you pick up your phone, of course)."

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