Google Fixes the Gmail SMS Feature, Releases it to the Word
Article by George Norman
On 11 Dec 2008
The much awaited Gmail SMS feature that Google announced about a month ago, the one that the Gmail team decided to roll back because it was riddled with bugs, has finally been released to the general public. Our how to use the Gmail SMS feature tutorial that we posted on Halloween, finally makes sense to users all over the world, even though the feature is pretty much limited to the US of A.

“A few weeks back, we ran into a few snags when we first started rolling this out, but starting today you can turn on text messaging for chat. We're just trying it out for cell phones in the United States right now, but you can send texts to your friends with US phone numbers from anywhere in the world,” explains Leo Dirac, Gmail Product Manager.


The concept behind this application is a pretty simple one. If the person you were talking with by using the built-in chat feature in Gmail does not respond, it means that individual is no longer near the computer. You could pick up the phone and call, but you could just as well send an SMS directly to that person’s mobile phone (for free). What we already know is that the first time you send an SMS message to a friend’s phone you will be assigned a certain number, number that your friend can use to reply. What we did not know is this: that number comes from the 406 area code (406 on a phone’s keypad spells G0O), and you have two options that allow you to stop receiving messages from Gmail chat. If you reply “STOP” you will not get any messages, no matter which Gmail user sends them to you (piece and quiet at last); if you reply “BLOCK”, you will no longer get any messages from that specific user (take that annoying grandma).

There is one thing that you need to keep in mind: the Gmail SMS feature is free for the person sitting behind the monitor; unless you have an unlimited text message plan, every time you reply it will cost you money.

For the past weeks we have been hearing quite a bit about Google’s take on how a mail client should look and feel: there were the new features we reported in the beginning of November, the recently added Gmail themes, the useful Gmail gadget, and the option to audio and video chat.

Tags: Google, Gmail, Google Labs, Gmail SMS Feature
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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