Google has started monitoring and recording a “small percentage” of phone calls that are initiated by call-only ads or call extensions in the US.
The company says calls are being monitored and recorded in an effort to improve call quality for users and advertisers.
In a help document, Google states:
“Evaluating call quality ensures that advertisers are providing a positive call experience and prevents caller spam and business fraud.”
When a user initiates a call from a call-only ad or call extension they will hear a short message informing them that the call may be recorded by Google for quality assurance.
In addition to evaluating calls for the purpose of reducing spam and fraud, calls will also be evaluated for compliance with Google Ads policies.
If Google evaluates a call and finds that an advertiser is violating its policies, the ad or extension that initiated the call will be disapproved.
Google assures users that their privacy will be protected:
Advertisers can request an exemption from call monitoring and recording only if they cannot have calls recorded for legal or regulatory reasons.
Going forward, advertisers will have to opt-in to call monitoring and recording in order to utilize call-only ads or call extensions.
Since initially publishing this story, a Google spokesperson has provided the following statement:
“Fraud in the advertising calls ecosystem is a growing issue and we are committed to combatting it and improving call quality for consumers. We have introduced a program in the US to record a small fraction of the calls in call ads. Our efforts will help prevent spam and other negative user experiences as well as reduce wasted marketing spend for advertisers.”