Google has just added India to the growing list of countries that can use Google Chat to send free text messages to mobile phones. Users in India can now send SMS messages from Gmail’s chat interface to all available mobile carriers, and also receive messages from mobile devices straight to their Gmail. The service is not available in the standalone Google Talk app.
The service is free to use, but does come with a limit of 50 messages. This limit is not set in stone, though: for every SMS you receive through Gmail, five are added to your credit, so if you use the service to chat with friends, you will never run out of messages. If you do happen to run out, you’ll get one message after 24 hours, which you can use to stock up again. You can even send an SMS to yourself and reply to get more credit.
In order to send an SMS to a contact, type the contact’s name in the search box and select “Send SMS” from the menu that opens on the right. You will then be prompted to enter the phone number and save it. After that, a chat window will open, where you’ll be able to chat as you normally do, only this time it will be through SMS and not regular Google Chat.
Users in India who wish to stop receiving SMS messages on Gmail should text the number +918082801060 with the word “STOP”. To start receiving SMSes again, text the same number with the word “START”. This is a great little perk for users in India, who’ve now joined more than 50 countries worldwide who enjoy Google’s free SMS service.
Do you plan on using this new service?