Google recently rolled out Free SMS chat service in India covering almost all operator including Airtel, Aircel, Idea, MTS, Reliance, Tata DoCoMo, Tata indicom and Vodafone. This service is already available in many other countries, the full list of supported countries can be found here. This service allows India based Gmail or Gtalk users to send free SMS to India based mobile phones. The receiver of these SMS can reply through their phones and their response will appear as replies in Gmail Chat. For the mobile phone user, the reply is charged at local SMS rate as per her/his normal billing plan.
How to send SMS for free from your Gmail
- Enable SMS from the Gmail settings
- Key in your friend’s mobile number
- Add contact information
- Send SMS
- Responses will appear as a reply in Chat
- Conversations will be stored in your Chat history, just like regular chats
How to enable the SMS setting?
Check if the SMS setting is enabled: Click on the settings gear icon in the upper right corner of gmail and click on Setting link, then go to ‘Labs’ tab. Search for ‘SMS’ and make sure it is enabled.
Step 1: Type phone number in Chat & SMS
Step 2: Add a contact name
Step 3: Write your message
Your message has been sent
If you send an SMS message to a friend who doesn’t receive it after a couple of hours, you may want to try again.
What is SMS credit?
SMS credit is an allocation of SMS (text messages) that you’re able to send to a mobile phone:
- Initially, you’re granted a credit of 50 messages.
- Every time you send a message, your credit decreases by one.
- Every time you receive an SMS message in Chat (for example when a phone user replies to one of your messages) your credit increases by five, up to a maximum of 50.
If your SMS credit goes down to zero at any point, it will increase back up to one 24 hours later. So, you won’t ever be locked out of the system.
How to protect from spammers by Block/Unblock/Start/Stop commands
If you receive an unwanted SMS message from Gmail Chat, you can block future messages from the sender. Just reply to the message with the word ‘BLOCK’. If you change your mind about that sender, you can send a message with the phrase ‘UNBLOCK’ to the phone number from which the message was sent (the SMS messages sent from Gmail Chat have their own number associated with the sender’s email account). If you don’t want people to send you SMS’s from GChat, you can text ‘STOP’ to +918082801060. To reactivate send SMS ‘START’ to the same number. The service phone numbers for the other countries can be found here.