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Google tests click-to-call

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Google is testing a service to get advertisers and consumers talking on the phone. The system works by putting a phone icon next to some search results. Clicking on the graphic lets you enter your phone number - Google will then connect you, for free, to the advertiser.

Your phone will ring and when you pick it up you will hear it ringing at the advertiser's office. The advertiser won't get your phone number - Google keeps that encrypted. Bearing in mind how hard some companies make it to find a phone number or other contact details on their websites this might just work.

It will also benefit companies with little or no web presence - they still get to give Google their marketing money.

The announcement is also likely to annoy eBay which paid $2.6bn for Skype so its customers to talk to each other.

Google wasn't giving much more away - it released a statement admitting the tests but said "we don't have any additional information to share at this time".

There's an FAQ on Google about the service here or have a look at Greg Yardley's blog for screenshots and more info here.®

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