Google has started rolling out ‘free SMS’ for its free email service Gmail and paid email serviceGoogle Apps customers in India. The service allows users to send SMSes to mobile phones from chat windows.
The service starts with 50 SMS credits for each user, every sent SMS costing one credit. Every reply received adds on 5 credits subject to the maximum level being 50 SMS at any given time. There is no official statement from Google on the launch of this service, however the service has gone live this evening in the chat windows of many users.
Google is rolling out the service in partnership with cellular operators, which means they would share revenue with Google out of SMSes users on their network send. It specifies a way to buy more SMS credits. “You can always send an SMS to your own phone, and then reply to that message multiple times. Every time you send a reply message, your SMS credit is increased by five.
If no replies are received to any of the 50 SMSes sent and the credit balance come down to zero, Google says, “…it will increase back up to one 24 hours later. So, you won’t ever be locked out of the system.”