I stumbled across a new feature from Google today that I have to tell you about. It’s on Google Maps / Google Local (http://local.google.com). The feature allows you to call any business you find listed on Google Local. For free.
Here’s how it works: You go to the Google Local website. You do a search. Business listings pop up in the sidebar and on the map. Next to any business’s phone number, this there is a link to call that business. You click the call link. Google asks you for your phone number. Google then calls you. You pick up, and Google calls the business. You’re connected. Google pays the phone bill.
So, lets say you want to send flowers to your mother that lives in a different state. You search for a florist in you mom’s city. You find one, and click the call button. Google calls you and then calls the florist in your mom’s city. You don’t pay a dime. Well, the flowers are your responsibility, but Google can hardly help that.
Those of you with caller ID should be aware of the following: When Google calls you, the originator, Google populates the caller ID info with the info of the person you are trying to call. This means that if you are using your cell phone, you can later store the phone number in your phone’s address book. You also have the number now in your caller ID memory, if you are using a land line. If the person you are calling has caller ID, they will see Google’s name and phone number on the caller ID display. (It would be nice if Google would change this to populate it with the originator’s phone number, with an option to hide it completely. Maybe in a future iteration.)
So go check it out! Unfortunately it doesn’t work for calls to non-businesses. But I guess that is a good thing. Google would go broke if we all used it to call our mothers. Just call a local florist and send flowers instead.
PS: Apparently this feature has been around since mid-November. I’m going to claim ignorance and say it was because of my new baby that I missed it. In any case, it is still cool. 🙂