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“We are very proud to be launching SMS in Gmail Chat today,” said Kitaka. “SMS in Gmail Chat has been specifically designed with the African consumer in mind and will bring a new level of flexibility and mobility to GMAIL chat. Google appreciates the vibrancy of Uganda’s ICT sector and has launched this service to make the internet even more useful to Ugandans on a daily basis. This once again demonstrates our commitment to Uganda and to the region.”

With SMS in chat, a Gmail user can send a text from the desktop interface directly to a mobile phone via SMS. In return, the person can respond to the text message and the response will appear in the senders Gmail interface. The service will eventually support all cellular networks and the standard network charges will apply for any communication from the phone to desktop, but SMS in Gmail chat is free from desktop to phone.

SMS in chat is easy and convenient to use. Just type a phone number into the new SMS box in Gmail and your message and send. In addition, contact phone numbers can be stored in the Gmail address book which allows immediate access to them anytime an SMS needs to be sent.

SMS in chat is automatically enabled for Gmail users depending on your settings, but in the event that it isn’t active in your account, you can activate it for free by going to Settings, Labs, then enabling the SMS options and saving changes. Every user is automatically given 50 credits which are used to send texts, and recharged when you get a reply. A message from the PC to SMS costs 1 credit, and on receiving a reply by text, you get 5 credits top up.

The chat session is saved automatically in your Gmail for future reference just like email.

For more details, supported countries, instructions and troubleshooting please visit Gmail Help.

Go start using Gmail Chat-to-SMS and let us know how you find it.