Google introduced a new Labs feature that lets you send SMS text messages right from Gmail. SMS messaging is currently available for cell phones in the United States, but you can send texts to US phone numbers from anywhere in the world. The text messages count as part of your regular mobile messaging plan and might incur fees.
- To turn on text messaging for chat — just click on Settings, and go to the Labs tab. Scroll down until you see “Text Messaging (SMS) in Chat” and select Enable and Save Changes.
- You can start by just typing a phone number into the search box in the chat window on the left, then select “Send SMS.” You can also select the contact you want to SMS first and then add their phone number. Once you enter a name for that phone number, you’ll be able to start chatting. The numbers gets saved in your Contacts, so next time you can just type their name in the chat box and select Send SMS.
- On the receiving end, the text message will come from a number in the 406 area code. You can reply to this text on your phone just like you’d reply to any other text. The reply gets routed back to our Gmail servers and shows up in your friend’s Gmail chat window. Each of your friends’ messages will come from a different 406 number so you can reply to any message and it will get back to the right person. Messages from the same person will always come from the same number, so you can even bookmark it in your phone.
- If you get a message from somebody you don’t want to chat with from your phone, just reply with the word BLOCK. If you don’t want to get texts from anybody using Gmail, reply with the word STOP and we’ll leave you alone.