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Who ya gonna call?

February 4, 2010

When I read something I don’t quite agree with I sometimes will read it again a few days later and see if my thoughts change. A little reflection is warranted sometimes rather than just going with my first opinion.

In the case of this headline from last Friday, my opinion hasn’t changed and my time of reflection resulted in a tangential thought which is kind of well, weird.

First, the headline that caught my eye and sparked my reflection:

Google Unleashes Click-To-Call Mobile Search Ads


Getting straight to the point-why call? With texting dominating mobile communications, click-to-call seems off the mark. What happens when you call? An IVR? Being placed on hold? I also must admit that I have NEVER looked for a restaurant to go to on the web. I’ll look for directions or at the menu of somewhere I’ve been before but searching blindly in an era where word of mouth is ever-present?

I wholeheartedly believe a call-to-action using a keyword texted to a shortcode is WAY better. Why? Because you can reach this customer again and again and again with messages they will likely value. You can use your presence in a search result to build a base of people you can reach over and over if you take the keyword+shortcode approach instead of click-to-call.

What’s the weird thought I had associated with this announcement? Do you ever get the feeling that Google is trying to tell you what’s best for you? Call it a coincidence but at the same time Steve Jobs is pitching the iPad and makes it feel like he’s still convincing himself of why he launched it, Google comes out with this feature which is kind of a dud in my opinion.

I was talking to a good friend yesterday who has worked with Google recently and my friend commented on the titanic arrogance the Google folk exude. This click-to-call announcement, to me, smacks of “we here at Google are so, so smart and this feature is what you need since it came from us and we’re never wrong since we’re Google.”

Isn’t this what GM thought in their heyday?

Dale Knoop is  a mobile multimedia patents holder and an industry-recognized pioneer of mobile data services. In 2005 Dale won an Emmy while serving as the GM for Sprint TV. In August 2009 he launched Ruxter which allows anyone to quickly and easily become part of the rapidly growing mobile internet with a free, fully optimized mobile website they can share with anyone. You can contact him here. Follow Ruxter on Twitter.

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