Google has launched a new service — Gmail SMS — which enables users to access, receive and send email from their phones via SMS. While smartphone shipments are at an all-time high, a significant amount of the population, especially in third world countries is still using feature phones with no mobile internet access.
In order to enable access to email for them, and grow its user base further, Google has launched Gmail SMS in three African countries – Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya. This might be a test run, following which Gmail SMS would probably be rolled out in many other countries.
“Gmail SMS works on any phone, even the most basic ones which only support voice and SMS. Gmail SMS automatically forwards your emails as SMS text messages to your phone and you can respond by replying directly to the SMS. You can control the emails received by replying with commands such as MORE, PAUSE and RESUME. Additionally, compose a new email as an SMS and send to any email address recipient – who will find your message in the right email conversation thread!”
Gmail SMS can be enabled from the Account tab in Gmail Settings. Users can just add their phone numbers and verify them to enable Gmail SMS on their numbers. They can also customize notification and forwarding settings on their phone.
Do note that while the service is free from Google’s end, users will still incur the standard SMS messaging charges.
All in all, a pretty cool move by Google to bring email to the unconnected masses.