Google Brings SMS Feature Back To Google Chat - InformationWeek

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12/11/2008
08:44 AM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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Google Brings SMS Feature Back To Google Chat

Remember how Google added the ability to send SMS messages to cell phones from within Google Chat...and then pulled it? Well, the feature is back, and this time for good.

Remember how Google added the ability to send SMS messages to cell phones from within Google Chat...and then pulled it? Well, the feature is back, and this time for good.Google ran into some problems with its first attempt to allow chatters to send text messages through their instant messaging program. So it pulled the plug on it almost immediately. At the time, Google promised the feature would return within two weeks. Here we are a month later and Google has finally given the feature back to Gmail users.

In order to use the feature, "click on Settings within Gmail, and go to the Labs tab. Scroll down until you see 'Text Messaging (SMS) in Chat' and select Enable and Save Changes. You can start by just typing a phone number into the search box in the chat window on the left, then select "Send SMS." You can also select the contact you want to SMS first and then add their phone number." Bingo, there you go.

According to Google, the feature will only work for cell phones in the U.S. The service will send messages to any U.S.-based cell phone number, no matter where the sender or phone happens to be. Each time you type in a new number, Google will save it in your contacts.

For cell phone users, Google warns that incoming messages from Gmail will appear with a 406 area code. Replying to that number routes the message through Google's servers and back to the Gmail user on the other end. What's really neat, is that any text messages you receive from, say, Bob in Accounting, will come from the same unique number, so you can even set that as a unique part of their contact data.

Lastly, Google says that you can prevent messages from reaching your phone or halting a conversation, by sending the word "block" in your reply. This will block that particular sender. If you don't want to receive text messages from Google at all, just reply with teh word "stop".

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