Several blogs, including Loren Baker at SEJ, are reporting that Google has discontinued its Maps “click to call” feature. Here’s a discussion group that confirms the move. Group members protest in response.
I asked Google for a comment, and haven’t received a response at this point (see below for response). Krillion said that 10% of its users were using the eStara-powered feature on its site (eStara was not behind Google C2C). But that was in the specific context of checking local store product inventory information.
There’s much debate about the utility and value of C2C out in the market. Windows Live Local still has the feature called “Call for Free.” Superpages used to offer it but apparently no longer does, while YellowPages.com still has the option. (Correction: I’m informed that it’s still present on the Superpages site, though not as prominent as it was.)
While most people do pick up the phone and call local businesses, my guess is that Google found the capability was underutilized and decided to discontinue it for that reason.
Addendum: What does this say about Google’s attitude toward PPCall? Maybe nothing, but maybe it says that the company is not going to roll out PPCall online after all — although it may well do so in mobile. Will be following up with them to see . . .
Google’s public statement: “Google is always working to improve the local search experience. We are constantly testing new features and iterating based on feedback from our users. Click-to-call was a valuable experiment that enabled us to learn more about the preferences of our users. While we are no longer providing this service, we expect to incorporate our findings into future developments for Google Maps.”