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Google rolls out free SMS service for Gmail users in India
Now you can send free text messages to your friends via Gmail! Search engine Google on Wednesday started rolling out free SMS service for its Gmail users in India. The service is reportedly also being rolled out for paid e-mail Google Apps customers in India. Google India hasn't officially announced the new initiative yet, however several Gmail users have reported about receiving a notification about the new service.
The message service enables users to send free text messages to mobile phones from their chat windows on Gmail. To send text, users need to add mobile numbers of their contacts in the e-mail address book. The service begins with 50 SMSes credit for every user, with one SMS costing one credit. If you get reply from a mobile phone to your Gmail, 5 credits are added to your account. Maximum credit for SMS is 50.
Google has teamed up with various India cellular operators to roll out the service. The partnership hints that the operators would also receive a share from Google's SMS service. Currently, eight telecom operators support the service; they are - Aircel, Idea, Loop Mobile, MTS, Reliance, Tata DoCoMo, Tata Indicom and some circles of Vodafone. Airtel and state-run MTNL and BSNL are missing from the list.
"You can always send an SMS to your own phone, and then reply to that message multiple times. Every time you send a reply message, your SMS credit is increased by five. Effectively, you're buying more messages by paying your phone company for these outgoing messages," Google explains on its chat help portal.
Find out more about Gmail SMS chat service here.
Update: Google's SMS service is now present on all mobile operators in India.
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