No Free iPhone SMS App Says Google
Article by George Norman
On 11 Mar 2009
We all know that Google provided SMS capabilities to its Gmail chat feature, so that you could continue your discussion even though you are no longer in front of your computer. One iPhone app, Infinite SMS, saw an opportunity in this feature and consequently used Google’s technology to provide iPhone users with free text messages. The app’s success was its own undoing, as Google has now announced it will block Infinite SMS; not because they don’t want iPhone users to get use Google’s technology, but simply because the costs are way to high for Google to support.

“Infinite SMS is a third party app that has been using Google technology to provide free SMS for users, while we were paying for the cost of the text messages. While Google is supportive of third party apps, we’ve decided we can’t support this particular usage of our system at this time. SMS chat is still just an experiment in the early testing stages in Gmail Labs. We’re blocking all external XMPP clients from sending SMS; we’re not singling out Inner Fence,” said Google in an official statement.


Infinite SMS developer, Inner Fence confirmed Google’s statement: “Google has claimed no grievance with Infinite SMS other than its success. Their given reason for the block isn’t abuse or wrongdoing; it’s that we brought too many users (and thus too much cost) to an experimental service. We acted in good faith, accessing a feature publicly announced by Google over open protocols they made available. Other non-Google apps have been able to access the SMS feature since its launch. To us, this was no different from accessing Gmail’s near limitless storage over the open IMAP protocol. We never could have guessed that the two of us would write an app too big for Google.”

This is not the first time that money related issues force Google to take actions that will negatively impact the user. Video sharing site YouTube, which is owned by the Mountain View search engine giant, has recently announced that it will block access to premium music videos, but only to UK users. This decision was made after a negotiations breakdown between YouTube and the Performing Rights Society (PRS). The purpose of these negotiations was to renew the license between the two companies – read all about it here.

Tags: Inner Fence, Infinite SMS, Google
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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