Google now let Gmail users send free SMS's to mobile phones right from the interface. SMS with Gmail let you "Use Gmail Chat to send SMS; Responses will appear as a reply in Chat; and Conversations will be stored in your Chat history, just like regular chats."
In order to use this feature you have to only enable the SMS (text messaging) in Chat lab.
"If your contact replies, the text message response will appear as a reply in Chat. These conversations are stored in your Chat history just like regular chats (but keep in mind that you can't go off the record while communicating via SMS).
When you receive an SMS message from a Gmail contact, add the incoming number to your phone's address book (this number is associated with the sender's Gmail account, so you can use it to send Chat messages to that person in the future). Then, you can reply to the message as you would any other text message, and your reply appears as a Chat message in your friend's Gmail account," Google explains.
Those who are worried about spam messages from Gmail Chat, can block future messages from the sender. "Just reply to the message with the word 'BLOCK'. If you change your mind about that sender, you can send a message with the phrase 'UNBLOCK' to the phone number from which the message was sent (the SMS messages sent from Gmail Chat have their own number associated with the sender's email account)," explains Google.
Follow the steps below to send SMS messages to your contacts' mobile phones using Gmail Chat:
- Enter your contact's name in the 'Search or invite friends' box in Chat, and select Send SMS from the box of options that appears to the right of your contact's name. Or, if you already have a Chat window open for this contact, just click Options, and select Send SMS.
- In the dialog box, enter a phone number in the 'Send SMS messages to this number' field. This feature is only launched in selected countries. If you are not located in one of the supported countries you can still use it, but you won't see the SMS option in Chat until you enable it manually in the Chat settings page.
- Click Save.
- A Chat window appears. Just type your message as you would normally. When you hit Enter, the message will be sent to the phone number you entered.
Though, Google does not charge for using this service. However, "mobile providers' standard charges will apply to any SMS messages sent from a mobile device to Google Chat."
For a list of supported mobile operators for SMS Chat in Gmail, check out this Help Center page.