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October 31, 2008

SMS in Gmail Chat

Gmail is about to introduce a new Labs feature that will let you send SMS messages to your contacts from the US, announces InformationWeek. Google explains how it works:
You can send SMS messages to your contacts' mobile phones using Gmail Chat. To do so from Gmail:

1. Enter your contact's name in the 'Search or invite friends' box in Chat, and select Send SMS from the box of options that appears to the right of your contact's name. Or, if you already have a Chat window open for this contact, just click Video & more, and select Send SMS.
2. In the dialog box, enter a phone number in the 'Send SMS messages to this number' field. For now, this feature works only on United States phone numbers. If you're outside the US, you can still use it, but you won't see the SMS option in Chat until you enable it manually in the Chat settings page.
3. Click Save.
4. A Chat window appears. Just type your message as you would normally. When you hit Enter, the message will be sent to the phone number you entered.

If your contact replies, the text message response will appear as a reply in Chat. These conversations are stored in your Chat history just like regular chats (but keep in mind that you can’t go off the record while communicating via SMS).

The nice thing about Gmail SMS is that each user gets a virtual phone number that facilitates replying to messages. "To write back, reply to the message as you would any other text message, and your message appears as a Chat message in your friend's Gmail account. If you don't want to receive any SMS messages from Gmail, reply with the command STOP. If you'd like to block the person who sent you the message, but still be able to get Gmail SMS messages from other contacts, reply with the command BLOCK," informs Gmail's help center.

You probably noticed the reference to a new Gmail option called "Video & more", which suggests that Gmail could add video chat. I don't see the new feature, but InformationWeek mentions that it will be slowly rolled out to all Gmail users and it will only be enabled by default if you are in the US.

Yahoo Mail added a similar feature last year: "From my Yahoo! Mail window (and using my comfortably full-sized keyboard), I can type a note to my son, letting him know I'm on my way to his soccer practice, and send it straight to his phone. And he can send a text message right back to my email, letting me know where to meet him. The intuitive, chat-like interface makes it super easy, even if you're a novice at text messaging."


Even more than Yahoo Mail, Gmail wants to integrate all your communication channels, so it allows you to pull messages from other email accounts, chat with Google Talk and AIM users. The integration with GrandCentral is also bound to happen.

Update: The launch has been delayed. "We found a glitch. When you'd try to turn it on, it wouldn't fully enable. We thought about keeping it out there -- bugs and all -- but the experience wasn't that great. So, in the spirit of Labs, we've pulled SMS chat back to fix it, and we'll get it back out to you as soon as it's ready -- probably within 2 weeks, so stay tuned." AOL must be happy.

{ Thanks, Paul. }

82 comments:

  1. nice, but sad that only US. I'm looking forward to polish mobile operators

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  2. You can visit www.kingsofmovies.blogspot.com for free movies download. Your post for free sms is really helpful.

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  3. Always the friggin US - just like Google Labs! Kick it off in the UK.

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  4. TechCrunch and Alex both mention GrandCentral, but I think this more stems from the Zingku acquisition. It would also be nice if that the outbound number that the text message came from would show as your GrandCentral number.

    (in the US, no sign of this Lab yet though)

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  5. I have been waiting for this for years....thank god for Google!!

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  6. US UK US UK
    Hum, how can it be in all over the world, especially Vietnam :-s

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  7. Wish it were available in Singapore. SMS is just too popular in SG.

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  8. land down under?

    looking forward to google string arming the operators into allowing free replies...

    no reason at all that texts should cost 25c each! blatant profiteering, if anyone can negotiate free replies it would be google (I had wondered if Twitter would have been able to pull this off, but apparently not, and hence for the last 3 months I have barely touched twitter)

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  9. How soon till Canada?

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  10. Guys, this feature has been available in AIM in the US (don't know about other countries, try it out & see) for YEARS! The feature is available by adding a buddy as +1555666777. Also, ever since Gmail has had the AIM function, this has been available in Gmail too. I don't know why this seems new to everyone. See my post about it here from September, after I had been using that feature in AIM in Gmail for a while (I posted in case others didn't know about it yet, because you pretty much had to be a former AIM user, but who wasn't?):

    http://seansrant.com/gmail-aim-texting-mobiles-ninja-puppy-prepares-for-attack/

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  11. But they havent included all the countries i think

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  12. Am I the only person who can't figure out how to do this? I don't see SMS ANYWHERE!!!

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  13. Read the post again, especially the last paragraph.

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  14. Oh, I just noticed the UPDATE part...
    I guess I was just to slow in (not) finding the feature.
    I hope it comes back soon!

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  15. "Gmail wants to integrate all your communication channels, so"

    they can own the online you

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  16. I've been sitting on pins and needles and rechecking this page every few days. Please let us know if this feature will make an appearance soon.

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  17. You know why this is US only? Because in the US both sending and receiving persons are charged for the SMS (yes, you are charged even if you receive SMS' you dont want).
    As far as I know, in the rest of the world it's only the person sending who gets charged.
    So operators still make money even if the message originates from Google or Yahoo or wherever...

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  18. It's been a month, where is it?

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  19. So much for getting this online within "a couple of weeks". Does anyone follow up on these articles?

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  20. this feature is up and runnning, I just enabled and tested it!

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  21. Not on my GMail yet! Tried it both in "standard" GMail and in Google Apps version. I've got a banner that tells me it is there but I can't find it anywhere. Is it still US only. The banner doesn't mention that!

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  22. Do you need a "1" in front of the phone number?

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  23. so if i were to text (through gmail) a person with unlimited text messaging, is no one charged extra?

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  24. The service is free, as far as Google is concerned. Some mobile carriers might charge the person that receives your message, but they'll definitely won't do that if it has an unlimited text messaging plan.

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  25. i dont have a sms option any were and im in the us wtf

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  26. I tried it and accidentally entered one digit of the phone number wrong and don't see where to correct the phone number. What if my friend get a new phone number?

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  27. look at it on the bright side, US maybe the 1st one to have it before us.. US is an experiment, if it fails then we dont have to deal with the headaches. We all know before anything invented we all try it first in the US, most of em fails and US gets the trash. When it does work maybe our country will be next. The "test rats" leave that to the US people. Let's just hope it works for the US so CANADA can have the best and of course the other countries. I hope there are no ADs over SMS like Yahoo Messenger has theirs now over Yahoo Chat and SMS. I lost respect on YM for this. Let's all try Google Chat first. Let's see we need a TEST RAT.. ahh US is good candidate!! LOL

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  28. Hey, I have a quick question.
    So, I used this yesterday, so I know the service works. But I had a question. I was wondering if the person still gets charged for their text that they send out or receive. Any ideas? Thanks

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  29. free sms to india,Send Free SMS to any CDMA, GSM Mobiles all over India.
    Free SMS is only for personal Use not for Commercial Use.
    smsseva

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  30. Send free sms to india-use bulksmsindia.mobi to download free excel software.
    send messages anywhere for FREE
    LOGONTO WWW.BULKSMSINDIA.MOBI

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  31. INDIAN GUYS NEED NOT WORRY FOR SMS ANYWHERE IN INDIA FOR FREE OF COST WIDOUT EXTRA PAY FOR RECIPIENT N D SENDER REGISTER FREE TO www.freesms8.com cheers now bharat mata ki jai!!!

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  32. I think it's good option ...
    If google can enable this for all countries it'll be too good ...!

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  33. Can someone tell me how to activate the SMS option? I can't see it in the labs nor in my chat options. Thanks for any help.

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  34. my sms option is gone- any ideas what happened???

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  35. mine too...i thought my account was broke! Looks like I am not the only one

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  36. I think this is really sad. I used SMS all the time and it worked really well.
    :( boo to google! I love your products and Labs. I use a lot of them. I hope SMS comes back, and introduces International SMS soon too. Thanks, Your Loyal Fan.

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  37. I can't believe they got rid of it. I just started post-grad work in Australia, but I'm from the States. I was relying on this sms feature to still be able to chat instantly (and for free) with all of my friends back home. I guess I'll have to add their cell numbers as AIM buddies now...

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  38. i know i am from the us too. but im leaving to england i guess i will go back to yahoo mail.

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  39. This makes me mad. I am stuck out in the middle of nowhere with my wireless card. My cell phone got ran over and I havent seen a house in miles... and I ran out of gas! I was going to rely on this to get a hold of my cousin via sms but oh looky now its gone. Thanks google! Now I have no way of getting someone to come find me.

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  40. Oh this feature was SO great for contacting coworkers that I didn't want knowing my personal cell number!!! Google, please bring it BACK!!!!

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  41. i support the idea of bringing it back. it was the BEST feature on gmail. hi from Singapore!

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  42. i wish you would have left it alone i relyed on it alot and loved it. i hope you bring it back soon

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  43. Yeah, WTF?! This feature WAS awesome, I could text my homies for free, or use it in emergencies, like the time the house phone fell in my toilet, no extra phone, and I dont get cell service anywhere near my house. Now I gotta use yahoo. Everyone else figured it out, Whats up with google? Thanx google... :-(

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  44. What's the deal? Why get rid of an awesome lab? Oh but look, we still have the 'Extra Emoji' lab. Good thing someone at Google has their priorities straight!!!!

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  45. http://googlewatch.eweek.com/content/google_goofs/google_disables_gmail_sms_text_chat_after_it_goes_wonky.html


    It's giving them trouble but they plan on bringing it back

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  46. Bring it back! Please!

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  47. Seriously, when is this coming back? I needz this right now!

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  48. If your friend doesn't reply to the message right away and loses the original message, you'll never be able to use the feature. That fails Google, and it needs a fix.

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  49. yeah, Polish or UE support would be a really great feature. I'm looking forward for GMail updates/news. Anyway great work.

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  50. FOR FREE SMS WORLDWIDE GO TO WADJA ;)
    First register at wadja.com than go to
    http://us.wadja.com/mail/#compose/sms
    or click compose and below send button should be "SMS" . If it says "Email",then click on it and choose "SMS".

    cheers from http://setrst.blogspot.com

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  51. Bring it back please!!! In Australia atm and everyone wants it!

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  52. When will this be hitting the UK??

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  53. now its working in Israel too

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  54. Can’t wait for this feature to be available in Canada!

    Any idea when that will be?

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  55. See world is round. Google is bound. Wherever you go it will come. It will give you everything no matter how they sound

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  56. wat abt india??

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  57. I have a question. I want to SMS my friend's iPod touch messaging number. It's not a phone number, but a texting identification number on the touch. I don't know if it will work. Does anyone know?

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  58. wanted in India

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  59. i want to sand sms from gmail for free

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  60. It looks like it has been on and off for 2 years it should be on in the US where I am. I also can't find anywhere in Chat settings to enable it.

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  61. caaaaaannaaaaaddaaaaaaaaaaaa

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  62. Enable it under Settings / Labs

    and it will come back.

    No Canadian option :(

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  63. Boy that 'e' user sure made me laugh...still lol ...CCAAANNNAAADDDAAAA.....too funny....I am Canadian too, so I was wondering about that. LOL. U've made my day!

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  64. Oh no!
    I think most of u have or are forgetting about Africa. We are all on the same planet, remember.

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  65. why didn't they make it international... so that many will enjoy the benefits...

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  66. Hey, it doen't say US ONLY anymore! but i get:Your message was not delivered. 1604XXXXXXX is on a mobile carrier that is not supported at this time. Learn more
    http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&ctx=mail&answer=164876

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  67. When is it for canada ?!

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  68. WHY NOT CANADA??? WE ROCK!!!

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  69. Probably because of the "test/trial" basis of it all. And all the lawyerin' involved not to mention configuring the local servers for each Country/languages etc...
    Plus Google can better anticipate the local countries potential usage and extra server usage, based partly on their overall SMS usage stats, computers owned, WiFi, Internet usage, yada, yada, yada.
    Many of the bugs will be worked out and the possible costs for added equipment/maintenance. Plus many (hopefully) of the bugs will be worked out. What with everyone and his dog having a WiFi enabled smartphone that frequently use multiple hotspots and free Internet Access, they could technically screw over the Mobile Phone Companies that charge users. And who is to say that Google won't charge for the service in the future too? Offering it for free in the US is a good test bed to get users to use the service.

    Or maybe they're too lazy and can't be bothered?

    In closing I agree with Anonymous

    !!!CANADA ROCKS!!!

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  70. Wow Google. Way to not include Canada. Do you not appreciate us as clients?

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  71. I can not find the options mentioned......what am I missing....any help texting to a cell in Taiwan would be greatly appreciated.

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  72. I want to delete a contact including his phone number in my gmail sms, and I have been trying to find out but nothing there, the name and number still appear whenever I search his name in the search box. What will I do?

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  73. plzzz can it be activated in UK and for Airtel in India

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  74. I've got a chatr phone and sim chip it is activated but for some reason I can not send or get txt messages why

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  75. Always western countries, why not Africa ???

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  76. any problem im now create updated document my blog visit my site http://gamefbi.blogspot.com/2012/09/how-to-send-sms-to-using-gmail.html thanks friend

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  77. I am looking for a reliable connection which offers Cheap international SMS from UK to any mobile and landlines at discount and low cost price. Can anyone suggest me something?

    ReplyDelete