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Read your Emails Without Internet Access? Google Launches Gmail SMS for users in Africa to Send & Recieve Emails by Text Message



I logged into my Gmail account today and a pop up came on my screen asking me to give some information that will allow me send and receive my emails by SMS. I declined by closing the pop up because I didn’t have much details about the service.

But surfing through the internet some minutes later, I stumbled upon the news that Google has rolled out a new service in Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya that lets Gmail users send and receive emails using the built-in SMS features of their mobile phones.

With this service, mobile Internet access isn’t required and users don’t need a new-fangled smartphone with 3G or WiFi capabilities either. For emerging markets, where iPhone and Android uptake may not be what it is in the Western world, not to mention limited Web access, Gmail SMS (available locally) is an interesting launch.

As long as you have a basic mobile phone with voice and SMS capability in these three African countries, you’ll now be able to do all your emailing by text message through activating a simple setting on your Gmail account.

How it works

“Gmail SMS automatically forwards your emails as SMS text messages to your phone and you can respond by replying directly to the SMS,” says Geva Rechav, Product Manager of Emerging Markets at Google. “You can control the emails received by replying with commands such as MORE, PAUSE and RESUME. Additionally, compose a new email as an SMS and send to any email address recipient – who will find your message in the right email conversation thread.”

To register for this service, you’ll need to log-in to your Gmail account, and click on your profile at the top of the page and then hit Account. Next, you’ll have to access your settings in the “Phone and SMS” section. You will then have to link your mobile phone number to your account to be able to send and receive emails from your handset.

When you click to send a verification code to your mobile phone, you then enter that number you receive into the box on the set-up page.

While the Gmail SMS service itself is free, you will of course still be charged whatever your local SMS rates are.

Now, this is what stopped me from registering for the service in the first place. I get lots of emails every day, most of which I don’t even read and I wouldn’t want to be charged with my local SMS rates for receiving the emails on my phone. And with the MORE, PAUSE and RESUME commands, it doesn’t actually let you select the email you want to receive, but lets you stop receiving or resume whenever you want.

But then, with most people using Blackberries these days and having access to their emails on the go, I’m wondering how the acceptability of this service would fly in our society.

For me, I’m glad I didn’t register for the service. Wouldn’t want to pay to receive junk emails on my phone. Maybe if it was free, just maybe….

What do you think about the new service by Google? Would you subscribe to receiving and sending emails via SMS on your phone?

News Source:

Adeola Adeyemo is a graduate of Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from University of Lagos. However, her passion is writing and she worked as a reporter with NEXT Newspaper. She believes that anything can be written about; anything can be a story depending on the angle it is seen from and the writer's imagination. When she is not writing news or feature articles, she slips into her fantasies and creates interesting fiction pieces. She blogs at