Gmail has redefined the web-mail segment and it has now fully evolved, and is not just a mere email application. Gmail isn’t just limited to sending and receiving emails, but users can also chat via Gmail. Recently a video conferencing capability has also been added through Google Plus Hangouts, and more interestingly now Google has attached one more feature to its chat, which allows users in India to send free SMS right from the Gmail’s interface.
This new service lets Indian Gmail users to send an SMS from Gmail to any mobile phone and receive replies as chat messages. This feature was added to Gmail on October 10th for both regular users and Google Apps’ users. Google’s support page says that the SMS chat in Gmail is supported by all mobile operators in India.
SMS in Gmail Chat is free; however, it has some restrictions to prevent abuse. Initially, every user will get a credit of 50 free messages. Each credit is equal to one SMS message. If a reply is sent to the SMS, then the SMS limit is increased by five. The credits will increase after 24 hours and if you don’t want to wait, then you can also purchase SMS credits. Users from any country can send free SMS to any region that supports the SMS feature via Gmail.
Those who want to opt out of receiving Gmail chat SMSs can block all future messages from that sender by replying the message with the word ‘BLOCK’.
This Gmail texting service will compete with other mobile messaging services that are gaining in India. Sites like Way2SMS and 160by2 are already very popular in India and Whatsapp has also collaborated with Indian carrier Reliance to offer unlimited messaging plan to college students.