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Google Testing Click-To-Call Service

Google Inc. is testing a click-to-call service that lets users speak over the phone to an advertiser found on the search engine's results page.

Advertisers participating in the program have a phone icon next to their text advertising, according to a frequently asked questions posting on Google. Clicking on the icon displays a field to enter a phone number that can be sent to Google, which will call the number provided and connect the person to the advertiser. The calls are free to consumers.

The telephone numbers are not shared with advertisers or anyone else, and are kept on Google servers for no longer than four months after the last time a person uses the service, the Mountain View, Calif., company said. Numbers are deleted permanently after that time.

The advertiser's number, however, will appear on a person's caller ID when Google makes the connection, giving the consumer the option of saving the merchant's phone number.

Google did not say whether a third party was involved in making the call.

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