Google Releases Free Texting Feature

December 21, 2008

I have to say, I heard about this one coming a few weeks ago and I was quite excited. And now it’s here! Google didn’t disappoint either.

Google’s texting service has pretty much everything I had hoped for, delivered of course with their trademark simplicity. Text messages are sent the same way as chats, simply find the person in your contacts list and, if you have their number stored, select “Send SMS”. Then just type your message, press enter, and off it goes.

In my tests, the messages were all delivered promptly, very little delay. This is a very big plus, as many other free services are slower than Han Solo post-carbonite. Replies also arrive promptly, making it a great, cheap way to have text convos with your friends who have more of a life than you do.

Oh yeah, did I mention the replies? Google assigns anyone who uses their service a unique number, meaning that your friends can reply to any free texts you send, and they get sent straight to your inbox. As I’m on my computer almost as much as I’m away from it, so it is incredibly convenient for me to be able to text friends/family from my browser. And, for those few times that I’m not, it’s saved like any other email or chat message, waiting for me when I return from what was most likely a bathroom trip.

I’ve messed with few free texting services in the past, but most of those experiences consisted of me reading their TOS page and then running away quickly. Enter Google. Their strategy to passively gather information on me and serve me targeted ads in my inbox, while still more than a little unnerving, is miles better than having someone constantly spamming my phone with MMS pron.

Altogether, this is a great new feature, and I really hope that Google decides to run with it. For all of you wondering how to enable this handy service, go to Settings -> Labs in Gmail, and simply enable Text Messaging (SMS) in Chat.  I hope everyone finds this as useful as I have!

N.B. I am not actually a Google marketing person, as much as I may sound like one in this post. I was excited, give me a break:P

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