We are really involved with our AdWords clients, and our goal is to make them profitable and successful using online advertising. Part of our on-boarding process is to make sure that goal and conversions are setup and tracked appropriately in their analytics and AdWords accounts. Which means that form fills, contact us pages, e-commerce pages and phone calls are all tracked. We have been insisting that our clients use AdWords phone call tracking for over four years now, and it’s a mandatory part of our account setup.

A few days ago Google announced that they were going to include phone call tracking as an integral part of their AdWords services, because tracking phone calls and attributing these leads to their lead source helps them (and their partners) justify AdWords as an advertising tool. Because without it almost 80% of the B2B small business leads would not be tracked appropriately. Google has done some amazing work with the AdWords platform of late, one of which is the call tracking and the other is the offline AdWords source tracking via CRM. Each of these tools is going to make it easier for businesses to track the ROAS.

However I can’t help but feel (getting back to the title of this post) that Google is behaving like the most hated part of the old Microsoft. Remember the days when independent software providers would make awesome utilities, things like PKzip or other small helpful tools and then in the next release of Windows these tools were made redundant because Microsoft had incorporated them right into the operating system? Well that is happening again.

In April of this year during a keynote with Google at SMX West  they mentioned that keyword data would no longer be available to 3rd party applications and one of the hardest hit was call tracking tools. Call tracking technology lost the ability to track keywords from organic search over the past few years, then keyword information from paid advertising and each time that this happens it edges out a software company or a tool that tries to enhance the advertiser or business owners experience.

The big question is, does Google make these changes to edge out competitors and then strong arm compliance by making their premium offerings into free services.