It's a small technological gesture that means a whole lot.
Google March 10 began letting users click to call numbers that friends, colleagues and other contacts send them in a Gmail e-mail or chat message.
I tested this out last night with my number, which rendered as a link after I typed it and e-mailed it to my Gmail. When I clicked it, I saw the familiar Gmail dial pad pop out to the right, including the number I clicked on, which was ready to dial at one click:
Users will also see the familiar green phone icon next to contacts' numbers in Gmail that users can click to surface the dialer the same way.
The neat, time-saving feature augments the Gmail calling feature Google launched last August to let users place calls directly from Gmail using an integration of the Google Voice calling technology.
The idea is to keep users from leaving Gmail to make a call from their landlines or mobile phones. The feature requires Google's voice and video plug-in. Once installed, Gmail users can click a "Call Phone" tab to open the dial pad.
Click to call is new to Gmail, but Google has already saved users oodles of time (and made oodles of money) by leveraging click-to-call ads when users search for businesses from their mobile phones. I use this almost daily from my smartphone.