I have been finding that many people do not realize that there is an instant messaging (chat) feature in Gmail that lets you send and receive instant messages with other Gmail chat users. This feature is typcially turned on by default. To make sure it is turned on, click on the gear icon and choose Settings. Click the Chat tab to determine if chat is on or off.
Now that you have discovered Gmail chat, did you know you can send and receive SMS text (cell phone) messages using Gmail chat?
Here’s how to turn the SMS text messaging feature on:
Gmail chat lets you easily send text messages to and from cell phones. If this feature isn’t already enabled on your account, you can enable it by following these steps:
- Click the gear icon in the upper right, then select Settings.
- Select the Labstab.
- Scroll down until you see Text Messaging (SMS) in Chat, select Enable and Save Changes.
Here’s how to use the SMS text messaging feature, in Gmail chat, to send (and receive) text messages:
- 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. Click herefor the list of supported countries and operators. If you are not located in one of these 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.
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).
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