Google has started the beta testing of a program that is just ringing for abuse. It allows users to be connected to businesses they are searching for on the results page. When you click on a business you then enter your phone number. Google then connects you to that business.
Will Click-To-Call Be Abused?
The business will not see your phone number on their caller ID. The users caller ID will display the business phone number for future reference. The issue becomes what if someone does not enter his or her own phone number but someone else’s number as a prank?
Google’s response from their Click-to Call FAQ page reads, “Google takes fraud and spamming very seriously. We use technical methods to prevent future prank calls from the same user within a reasonable period of time. You won’t be charged for any such calls.”
The vague statement about preventing future prank calls from occurring in a reasonable period of time is not very reassuring. Why Google would want to test this service with such a large potential for abuse?
In a blog written by Lauren Weinstein he writes ,”Google’s explanation for this caller-ID manipulation is that it would be handy to have the called business number in your caller-ID for future calls. That may be true, but the abuse potential is way too high. Caller-ID should never be falsified.”
Weinstein does offer a solution in a later blog posting. He writes ,” However, there is indeed a simple solution in this case. If the caller-ID delivered to both sides of the bridged calls is set to indicate the true source of the calls (i.e., Google) the problem goes away. In fact, caller-ID could be used to further enhance the service by providing a true full point of contact.”
Depending on the volume of complaints Google may receive during the testing phase of Click-to-Call will determine if they will follow the advice of Weinstein concerning the caller ID issue.
Makes one wonder what will happen with it, will they keep it and let it ripen or will it rot…