Even when your friends are not logged into Google Talk, you can use it to send them messages. Instead of using Google Talk just for chatting, you can now use it to send free SMS messages as well.
How Google Chat comes to your phone
Although anyone with a Blackberry can always be reachable with Google Talk, those mortals with regular mobile devices can receive and respond to your Google Chats using SMS. All this is thanks to Google introducing the service officially on December 10th.
The concept of sending SMS from chat isnâ€™t new, itâ€™s already been done using AIM years ago. However, it is new to Google Chat.
Although it is too bad that (for now) you can only SMS to US numbers, you can send them from anywhere in the world. Once you activate â€œText Messaging (SMS) in Chatâ€ from the Settings tab in Gmail.
Once you save the changes you made in your settings, you can type a phone number directly into the chat window, and then select â€œSend SMSâ€ to send your message.
The recipient of the message has three options: he can reply directly to you, block you only, or block all SMS messages from Google Chat. This is slightly comforting to those of us who might have to pay for each incoming SMS message.
How do you know a message is coming from Google Chat?
If you receive a message with a 406 area code, it is a text from one of your Google Chat contacts. Each person will have a unique number, so when you reply the message gets to the right computer screen. The number doesnâ€™t change, so when you bookmark it you can always send text messages back to your friendâ€™s Google Chat account.
Blocking Google Chat SMS
If you donâ€™t want to be bugged on your phone by one person in particular, just reply to the SMS with the word â€œBLOCKâ€. It will block all SMS messages from that one person in particular.
If you donâ€™t want to receive any SMS through Google Chat, just reply to any message with the word â€œSTOPâ€ and from then onwards Google will not route any SMS to your phone.
Why Block Messages?
Your wireless provider may charge any messages you send or receive from your phone. If you have a great plan that includes unlimited text messaging, then you have nothing to worry about. However any bare bones plan will be charged on a â€˜per messageâ€™ basis, and this can add up big time with just a short chat session through your phone.
Do you think you might use SMS through Google Chat? If only Canadian numbers were included, I know I would!