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Free Long Distance Calls via Google Maps

Written by Nickel - 13 Comments

The other day I was looking up the phone number of a certain business on Google when I noticed something interesting… After searching for the business keyword and city/state, I clicked on the “Local results” link at the top. This pulls up what amounts to a phone book/map combination. Pretty standard stuff. However, just after the phone number for each listing was a little link that said “call.” Clicking on that link revealed that you can enter your phone number and have Google connect the call for you.

From their FAQs:

• How does it work?

When you click the “call” link next to a business’s phone number, you’ll be invited to enter your phone number. Once you select “Connect For Free,” Google Maps calls the number you provided. When you pick up, you will hear ringing on the other end as Maps connects you to the business. When they answer, you simply talk normally as if you had directly dialed their number on your phone.

• Who will get my phone number?

Google uses the phone number you enter just once, to make the automatic connection between you and the business location. We won’t use the number to make any other calls to you. In addition, your information will be deleted from our servers after a period reasonably necessary to operate the service. We take your privacy very seriously. Learn more about our Privacy Policy.

• Whose caller ID do I see when connected?

The business’s phone number appears on your caller ID when Google calls you. This allows you to save the business’s number on your phone so you can quickly call the business again at a later time.

• Am I charged to connect to the business?

No. Google pays for all calls, both local and long-distance. However, if you give us a mobile phone number, the normal airtime fees or other fees charged by your phone provider may apply.

This is a pretty slick workaround for getting free long distance calls to businesses that are out of your area. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to work for residential listings, but beggars can’t be choosers, I guess.

Published on February 21st, 2007 - 13 Comments
Filed under: Frugality

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

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13 Responses to “Free Long Distance Calls via Google Maps”

  1. 1
    Seth Says:

    Very interesting.. I’d never noticed that before. Thanks for sharing.

  2. 2
    Zach Says:

    “Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to work for residential listings . . . ”

    . . . which is why I’ve registered myself with Google as a business. Now I find my “business” on the map, and enter the number I want to call instead of my phone number. It rings them first with my name in the caller I.D., then connects us. Free call.

    I don’t really want to spread this around for fear people will abuse it and Google will catch on, but it’s fun to feel smarter than Google. (Is that possible? Surely not.)

    The only downside is being listed in their directory. I called myself a photographer, so if anyone calls and wants to pay me to take some pictures, I’ll gladly comply.

  3. 3
    Blaine Moore Says:

    That’s funny, Zach! Nice trick.

    This could be useful if I ever get close to using my minutes, though, since I have free incoming calls on my mobile and that would count as an incoming call.

  4. 4
    Kelly Says:

    That’s a really cool trick! Thanks for sharing! Don’t we all just love google! I have been trying anything to reduce my phone bill. Lately I’ve been using onesuite calling service to save money on my long distance. This trick will help when calling businesses.
    Thanks again!

  5. 5
    Amy Says:

    Wow, I was not aware that they offered that! Thank you so much for sharing this tip!

  6. 6
    Crediteria.com Says:

    Thanks for reminding me to pay attention!

    I saw that and set that in the back of my mind and promptly forgot it.

    I have also noticed the latest version of Skype is doing the same type of thing.

    It is certainly fun to watch the ‘net grow and evolve!

  7. 7
    Alexandra Says:

    Great tip, thanks!

  8. 8
    Moe Zalmana Says:

    hello,

    can someone please explain to me how you do this? I don’t seem to understand… where do you go, what do you type in?

  9. 9
    bonnie Says:

    Moe — Start by going to Google Maps (maps.google.com) In the search box, type in a business name and click on “Search Maps.” (This only works for businesses, and not residential addresses, as nickel pointed out.) This should bring up a list of choices with phone numbers. Find the number you want to call, and next to the phone number you should see “call.” Click on “call” and it brings up a place to enter your own phone number. Enter your number and click on “connect for free.” It only takes a few seconds until your phone will ring. Pick it up and you’ll hear a computer voice say “connecting” and pretty soon the phone starts ringing at the place you are calling. They will answer the phone as though you had placed the call directly to them, even though Google dialed it. (And paid for it!) I’ve noticed that when my phone rings, if I wait long enough for the Caller ID to register before I pick up, Caller ID shows the place I am calling, as though that business called me. It really is a free long distance call. I hope this helps — give it a try!

    As Zach mentioned, I also haven’t spread this around too much because I don’t want Google to discontinue it.

    By the way, Zach, how does one list a business with Google? I actually have a business, but I don’t know how to list it.

  10. 10
    bonnie Says:

    I notice that I was the last one to comment on this topic a couple of months ago. I had been using Google occasionally for long distance calls to businesses, and I see now that they must have discontinued this feature. The “call” icon isn’t there anymore. nickel (or anyone else), do you know anything about it? I will miss it!

  11. 11
    MEoip Says:

    Google did discontinue the click to call feature but don’t fear there are other ways. Google bought a company called GrandCentral. It’s a phone number for life concept, if you call my number both my house and cellphone ring. I have an online phone book with all the numbers I call (businesses, friends, family, etc).
    The best part, I have a local landline because I have DSL Internet. I pay something like $6 for the line (it has 0 outgoing calls but unlimited incoming) using GrandCentral in the same way the click to call map feature was used. I can make unlimited local and long distance phone calls. This comes out to be about a $45 + tax dollar value in my area all for $6 + tax.
    I have a few invites I can give away if folks are interested. You’ll need to get me an email address

  12. 12
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  13. 13
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