I think that Google is a fascinating company, and particularly how it makes money. Google makes many products like Search, Gmail, and Android that they don’t directly charge for, but instead make money from the advertising that is associated with the products. Basically, Google has figured out how to make money by giving things away for free, and I am amazed by the lengths people take to get anything for free.

GigaOm has an article about Google’s advertising feature called Click-To-Call that is increasing mobile revenues for the company. You might know that Google sells advertising, which it calls sponsored links, that appear at the top of web pages in mobile web browsers. Companies pay money to Google to have their ads appear at the top of the page, and when they sign up for Click-To-Call, the companies pay to include their phone number in the ad. The phone number is a hot link that dials the phone number from a smartphone.

Google classifies Click-To-Call as part of hyperlocal advertising. Roy’s Restaurants, located in Hawaii, added click-to-call in their ads and got 40% more calls, and ultimately more customers, to their restaurant. The idea behind Click-To-Call is that people prefer the convenience of simply clicking the phone number to call a company rather than spending the time gathering information from the company’s web site. In short, Google has turned the simple act of including a phone number, and making it a hyperlink to a phone app, into a source of money.