Gmail gets SMS Chat

New SMS sending capabilities will now let desktop Gmail users swap instant messages with mobile phone users via SMS protocol.

Google will reportedly add SMS sending capabilities to Gmail Chat today which will now let desktop Gmail users swap instant messages with mobile phone users via SMS protocol. Previously Gmail users could communicate to mobile phone users, but were limited to sending e-mail messages. The Official Gmail Blog hasn't announced the new SMS chat feature yet but reports indicate that SMS support in Gmail Chat will be available for all US users some time today.

When the service becomes available it will require you sign up for it through Google Labs. To do this simply go to Gmail, then Settings (upper right-hand corner of Web page) and select Labs. Simply scroll down and "enable" SMS chat.

The new feature joins a plethora of new experimental features launched this month by Google Labs. SMS in Chat, according to reports, is only available in the US.

How SMS in Chat works

To get started using the service just type a phone number in the Chat search box or search a contact by name (if you have their phone number stored) and click the "Send SMS" option.

The person receiving an SMS from Gmail's Chat will see it as coming from a 406 area code number. This pseudo-phone number will be associated with your account once you first use the feature. That 406 number now can be used for others to send you text messages that will pop up right in your Gmail Chat window.

Potentially harmful to your wallet

This feature is not free. The person receiving SMS messages from you via Gmail Chat will be charged by their mobile carrier each time you hit enter in the chat window. The same applies if they reply to that message. While sending the messages from Gmail is free, at the receiving end users will pay standard text messaging rates to their wireless carrier.

SMS in Chat is a feature that differentiates Gmail from other large webmail providers such as Windows Live Mail or Yahoo! Mail, which do not have such functionality. AOL's instant messaging platform AIM does support SMS messaging in chat.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags gmail chat

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Daniel Ionescu

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?