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Google+ Announces SMS Feature In 41 Countries

Google Plus, Google’s social networking site has announces its new SMS notification feature across 41 countries which allows people to share updates using their mobile even when they are offline. Google Plus users can update their status on the go by just sending an SMS to 9222222222 with the update in message box. To activate this Google Plus users will have to link their mobile number to their Google Plus account from Google+ SMS features.

How To Use

One of the key features of Google Plus is the ability to share status updates to select circles and Google+ SMS feature also incorporates it. If one does not specify the circle the message needs to be shared with, it shares the update with everyone in your circle. However, it offers following modifiers:

  • @[circle name] – To share your update with selected circles.
  • @extended – To share your post with your extended circles.
  • @public – To make your update visible to everyone (including search engines).
  • @[email address] – To share your update with a particular person.

Although India’s Smartphone market space is growing at 10-15% a year, it’s still minuscule when compared to the feature phone market share which makes SMS a convenient form of communication between mobile users. Indian telecom operators also offer low priced SMS plans where operators like Loop Mobile offers 3,000 free SMS for just Rs 44 with a validity period of a month. Online SMS-chain portals like Way2Sms.com and 160by2.com (acquired by Way2Sms) together have more than 35 million users. However, users cannot update their status message via these service as they make use of keyword while delivering the message.

Twitter, another popular social networking site, also offers similar feature where users can update their status message using a short code but is available on limited telecom operators such as Tata DoCoMo, Reliance, Bharti Airtel, etc. Twitter  also provides a free-of-charge news alert service where users can choose which of the accounts they follow and has the ability to push SMS updates to their phones. This service again is available on limited telecom operators such as Airtel, Videocon, Tata DoCoMo and Reliance.

Who Wants SMS Anyway?

A couple of years ago, Alison Rosenthal, Director (Business Development) at Facebook had mentioned that the response to the 92FACEBOOK long code service that they had launched has been disappointing. With current TRAI regulations  where consumers are allowed to send up to 200 SMSes per day from a SIM might also turn out to be spoil sport for such features.

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Google also recently expanded their SMS Chat service in India where it allows users to have one-to-one communication that allows Gmail and Google Apps users to send text messages through the Google Talk widget present in dashboard.

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