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July 20, 2007

Google Discontinues Click-to-Call and Related Links

Two small but useful Google services are no longer available. Click-to-call, the Google Maps feature that allowed you to call a business for free in the US, was removed. "This feature was a long-running experiment, and in the end it was decided to discontinue it. There are however lots of other features we're adding to maps in the hope of making it even more useful," says a Googler who recommends trying GOOG-411, an automated voice-based mobile search engine. You can also try Microsoft's local search engine, which continues to include a click-to-call feature.

Haochi Chen was reminded of that strange day from October 2006 when Google's Official Blog was hacked and somebody posted that "Google has decided not to continue with Google Click-to-call project". Apparently, he was right.

Another discontinued service is Related Links, that showed links to news, videos and searches related to the content of a page in a small box which looked similar to an AdSense unit. Many people were disappointed that they don't earn money for adding it to their sites and the links weren't very relevant, a problem that is also noticeable in the similar feature available in Gmail and Google Groups. A Google representative told Google Blogoscoped that "through our evaluation of the Labs product, we identified the most compelling functionalities of Related Links and integrated them into new and improved products, like the AJAX Search API and AdSense Link Units". Unfortunately, the most compelling functionality was to display dynamic content from the web that complements and enhances a page, but you don't get this using AdSense Link Units (ads) or AJAX Search API (you need to manually define the queries). Some alternatives for Related Links: Sphere widget, Findory's API.

One of the nine rules for innovation shared by Google's Marissa Mayer was "don't kill projects, morph them". Hopefully, they'll morph into something better.


  1. I would bet that Click to Call was discontinued because Grand Central has a similar feature for users' contact lists. Maybe we'll see searching within the GC interface, now that Google has purchased GC.

  2. Gahh, I use that all the time with my friends to get pizza or just to find a number of anything. I don't have to repeat numbers to them, it was nice.

    As mentioned above, Grand Central better bring it back bigger and better.

  3. To use click-to-call in Windows Live Local do you have to be running IE?

  4. No, but you have two options:

    * use your phone: you enter your phone number, Microsoft calls you and connects you to the business.

    * use your computer: you need to install a plug-in (Windows Live Call) and have Windows Live Messenger. I think the plug-in should work in IE and Firefox.

    Everything is free and US-only.

  5. Sucks that Google discontinued click to call. I liked it and recommended it to a bunch of my friends who also liked it. It was a great way to call long-distance businesses for free!

  6. I think, thank you but no thank you, you went to far, I'd like to cancel, nothing personal, but you don't give me that option

  7. I think Click to Call feature was amazing & a gr8 piece of customer service, specially for customers looking products from out of their country.

    Unfortunately G has discontinue it but I hope we'll have it in future G will launch more improved and better result driving service.

  8. Windows has also taken it off their search engine. Does anyone know of another click-to-call engine?

  9. Kelly, If you are really interested in click-to-call feature, try Pay Per Call at

    Definitely its not into SE, but this could benefit your local business.