Today, via a post at echoditto, I learned about a Google "click-to-connect" feature on Google Local. (Thanks to Britt Blaser for the pointer.) It's hard to tell when Google releases something so this might have been there for months I just didn't notice.
The service is pretty simple: when you search for business, you see the standard Google map with the businesses listed on the left side. Next to each business' phone number is a "call" link. Pressing it opens a box where you can enter your phone number. Enter your phone number and it will ring. When you answer they connect to the outbound party.
This is similar to, but much more general than, a method I blogged a while ago on initiating calls from a Vonage number via a URL. I have an Applescript installed in my address book that allows me to right click a name and initiate a call without dialing.
As Harsh Rao (who was the CTO for the Dean Campaign) points out, it's only a matter of time until someone creates some cool mash-ups from this. He speculates that it could be used to enlist volunteers to do get out the vote calling in a distributed way.
As an aside, when I clicked "call," the Sxipper plugin I've installed in Firefox, immediately gave me a list of my phone numbers to click on to fill the box, so there's no need to even type my number in. That makes it doubly easy.