This wonderful new Labs feature introduced by Gmail allows users to Send Text Messages (SMS) to their friends directly from within Gmail Chat. This feature is mainly built to stay in touch with people you have been chatting with in Gmail even when they’re away from their computers. This is somewhat like “Where ever you go, our message follows you”. So from now you can chat from the comfort of your computer and reach your friends no matter where they are and your friends can peck out replies on their little keyboards.
Although this feature was first invoked a month ago, it has got some glitches because of which it had to go back to Gmail labs to fix those and now its back with a bang and running successfully. As of now this feature is enabled only for cell phones in the United States, but you can send texts to your friends with US phone numbers from anywhere in the world.
Here’s step-by-step on how you can enable and utilize text messaging (SMS) in chat feature :-
- Login to your Gmail and click on ‘Settings’ & Go to the ‘Labs tab’
- Search for (or) Scroll down until you see “Text Messaging (SMS) in Chat”
- Select Enable and click on Save changes.
That’s it!! You have successfully enabled this feature and now can type a phone number into the search box in the chat window on the left, then select “Send SMS.” After that, you can begin chatting via SMS within the chatting window as shown.
As numbers are stored in your contact details, you don’t have to worry about typing the number every time, instead you can type their name, just as if you were going to send an email, and it will bring up their number.
Thanks to the Product manager Leo Dirac Who talks to bit more about this feature:
On the receiving end, when you get a text message from Gmail on your phone, it will come from a number in the 406 area code. (The l33t folks in the crowd will note that this spells G0O.) You can reply to this text on your phone just like you’d reply to any other text. The reply gets routed back to our Gmail servers and shows up in your friend’s Gmail chat window. Each of your friends’ messages will come from a different 406 number so you can reply to any message and it will get back to the right person. Messages from the same person will always come from the same number, so you can even bookmark it in your phone.
If you get a message from somebody you don’t want to chat with from your phone, just reply with the word BLOCK. If you don’t want to get texts from anybody using Gmail, reply with the word STOP and we’ll leave you alone. Keep in mind that all these text messages count as part of your regular mobile messaging plan and might incur fees. So unless you know your friends have unlimited text message plans, please be sensitive to their phone bills.