Google announced yesterday that it was extending its free SMS chat service to India users as well. This feature which allows users to send an SMS to their friends' phones via GChat is now available for India and 51 other countries in Asia, Africa and North America.
So how does this work? All you have to do is click on a contact in the chat panel, click on the 'down' arrow next to the Email button and you will see an option that allows you to send an SMS. Click on that, type the mobile number of the contact and send. The SMS response you receive for messages sent via GChat will be stored in your chat history as well.
Eight major mobile service operators in India will support this Gmail SMS service. They are: Aircel, Idea, Loop Mobile, MTS, Reliance, Tata DoCoMo, Tata indicom and Vodafone (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal & Andaman and Nicobar, Assam, North East).
For those who use the GTalk app on their computers or smartphones, the feature is not yet available. It's only working on Gmail currently in desktops and PCs.
Initially users will get a credit limit of fifty SMS's. For every message you send your credit will decrease by one. But for each message received in response to texts sent via Gchat, your credit goes up by five texts. The maximum credit remains 50 however which means you can never get more than 50 free SMS's, no matter how many you receive.
Google also warns that If you send too many messages from web to mobile, without mobile responding, the web user will get blocked from sending SMS messages. So, no spamming or harassing people.
When your SMS credit is zero, one credit will be added after 24 hours. Users can also 'buy' SMS credit, when they've run out of them, by sending an SMS to their own phone and replying to that.
If you want to block SMSs from GChat from a particular contact, you can just reply to the message with BLOCK'. You have the option of sending 'UNBLOCK' later, if you have a change of heart.
And if you don't want the service altogether, that is you don't want people to send you SMS's from GChat, you can text 'STOP' to +918082801060. To reactivate send SMS 'START' to the same number.