Google began offering their browser based e-mail service, Gmail, in 2007 and although its market share is still relatively small compared to its competitors (7% by the last count), it is still the fastest growing email service in the world.
This is partly due to all the extra services they offer free of charge such as virus scanning, large message storage capacities, Gmail labs, to name a few. And now, in line with their efforts of constantly trying to bring new services to their clients and reach broader target markets, they have release a new service which allows Gmail users to send and receive their e-mails on their phone by SMS.
How it Works
The service doesn’t even require that your phone have an active internet connection. Even the most basic phone models of that can only make phone calls and send SMSs will be able to make use of this service.
Signing up for the services will direct Gmail to send every e-mail that pops into your account’s inbox, straight to your phone. The best part is it’s completely free of charge. Replying to the messages and composing new ones however, will incur standard SMS rates for that country. The service can also be halted or cancelled from your mobile device.
It’s a useful tool for those who have only sporadic access to the internet or don’t have smartphones but like to be constantly connected to their email anyway. It can also be a nice safety net if the internet connection in your area goes offline and you need to urgently send or receive an email.
Getting In on It
The service was only launched in Africa and is currently restricted to Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya. Google have said they plan to implement it more widely around Africa after gauging their customer’s reaction to in these areas.
These markets make sense when you consider their large populations and relatively high rate of internet penetration in Africa. Which is often hindered by connectivity issues caused by overuse and infrastructure issues.
If you live in any of these areas and would like to have a look at the service, click here to have a look at the steps involved for signing up.