Oct 11, 2010

Adding A Google Voice Call Widget To Your Email

voice_logoIn a recent post, Ben mentioned how our Mobile Lab is using Google Voice to solicit feedback from within the beta version of the upcoming Gmonkeys app. An interesting question came up in the comments about whether you might be able to add a Google Voice call widget inside your HTML email and yes, you can.

First you’ll need to log in to your Google Voice account and in the upper right hand corner, under the Settings menu, select Voice settings.

google_voice step 1

When the Voice settings screen loads, you’ll see a top menu. Click Call Widgets ==> Add a new call widget. At that point you’ll be asked to set up your widget, which includes the option to record a custom greeting as well as telling Google Voice how to behave when someone places a call. Once you’ve customized the widget to your liking, click save.

google_voice2

Next, copy the full embed code and paste it into a text file. You’ll want to locate the id# and copy it. Be sure to ignore the "id=" and "style" tags.

google_voice ID number

Now jump back over to MailChimp– specifically to step 3 of the campaign builder. Click on the add image button in the WYSIWYG, and select "upload". Paste in the following static image link to get the "call me" badge shown above.

https://www.google.com/voice/resources/2714463893-style01_full.jpg

(You may want to resize the image depending on where in your template you’re placing it.)

Next, click on the "Link" tab at the top of the image upload dialog. Paste the following, replacing [idstring from the Embed box] with the ID number we previously pulled from the widget.

https://clients4.google.com/voice/embed/webCallButton?id=[idstring from the Embed box]

So you’ll ultimately end up with something like the following:

https://clients4.google.com/voice/embed/webCallButton?id=036889b58b6291e869de91f37037e9eb3bf9000d

This is how the widget appears in my actual newsletter:

flower_power_googlevoice

As is often the case with this sort of hack, there are caveats you should be aware of. The Google Voice Support discussion notes that this method does not work well with Internet Explorer, although Firefox and Chrome appear to be OK. I ran an Inbox Inspection on the campaign and email clients seem to render the button without an issue since it’s just a static image with a link. But the degree to which the actual functionality works with individual email clients still needs to be tested.