Google SMS Chat for India


12 Jan 2012
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Google Expands SMS Chat Service To India

Google seems to have silently expanded its Gmail SMS chat service to India, although we are not quite sure when it went live since there was no official announcement from the company. Not to be confused with Google’s Push SMS service, which allows users to broadcast messages through channels, this service seems to be more focussed on one-to-one communication and allows Gmail and Google Apps users to send text messages through the Google Talk widget present in dashboard.

How it works?
One can enter the phone number they wish to send a message or select one of the existing contacts through the chat widget, following which a popup window opens up through which they can send an SMS. If the contact replies, this message will appear as a reply in the same chat thread. If you are familiar to how Google Chat/Gtalk works, it works in a similar fashion, except for the fact that you are sending an SMS instead of an IM (Instant Message).

Supported Operators:
Sadly, this service is not operator-agnostic and seems to work only on Aircel, Loop Mobile, Reliance, and Tata DoCoMo phone numbers at the time of writing this article.

SMS credits:
Google’s SMS service works on a credit system: Each Gmail user is initially allotted 50 SMS credits which can be used to send text messages through their Gmail/Google Apps Dashboard. Each time the user gets a reply to his message through SMS, his credits will increase by five until it reaches the maximum of 50. Google will also increase the SMS credit back to one after 24hrs in case the user runs out of SMS credits.

No Option To Buy Credits?
There currently seems to be no option to buy higher SMS credits. Instead, Google states in their own SMS support page that one can send an SMS from a phone and reply to the message multiple times through their phone to increase their SMS credits. Since the conversation happens over a premium number on the phone, Google said that users will be effectively buying credits by paying the telecom operator for these messages.

Screens :


More at Medianama

Now, we can sms to gmail contacts in India (which pretty much is everyone) for free...
Great addition by Google India :)

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