Saturday, February 21, 2009
Google offers SMS Channels
Google offers SMS channels
SMS channels from Google combine the benefits of mobile phones and the web. It's an easy way of creating a group of mobile phone users who may exchange text messages regularly among themselves, much like discussion groups..
CJ: Vyasamoorthy , 33 minutes ago Views:17 Comments:0
GOOGLE HAS been offering SMS channels since October 2008 on an experimental basis. This is available exclusively to Indian mobile users only. This is an easy way of creating a group of mobile phone users who may exchange text messages regularly among themselves, much like discussion groups. A message sent to a channel (identified by a unique name) is broadcast over cell phone to all the members. This is a free service combining web and mobile technologies.
In order to use this one has to register as a user by sending a 'REGISTER' request to 9870807070. Subsequently you need to confirm acceptance of terms and conditions too. Registration may be done via website too. The user identifies his mobile via a verification code received on his mobile. Thereafter a user may subscribe to a channel by its name by sending: ON <channel name> to 9870807070.
Messages for circulation among members may be generated and sent in a number of ways.
* As an SMS from cell phone
* As an SMS via website
* Text pulled from your blog
* Text pulled from your website through RSS
* Text pulled via filtered Google news items
* Text obtained through RSS from Google groups
One can find out the channels that are available from a directory. You can create you own channel very easily too. After creating the channel you invite subscribers either from mobile or from website. Complete details are available at: http://labs.google.co.in/smschannels/
Possibilities of putting SMS channels are endless. Let me give just one example. I am a member of a web based group where number of messages is 35-40 per day.
Using an Incoming messages Filter I can redirect only such messages that are of my interest to a blog owned by me. From the blog I can pull out titles (subject lines) of a few messages ending in my blog daily and send it over an SMS channel to my mobile. Thereby I get to know if something interesting is there among hundreds of messages pouring into my email Inbox. This setup needs to be done just once in the beginning. I don't need to be frustrated by large number of Email messages in which I am not interested.
As this is still in beta stage there are delays in SMS deliveries. Initial teething problems include difficulties in getting registered (getting verification code), messages not arriving on your phone, absence of ways to check its proper functioning etc. The owner's identity is kept confidential. The owner can not find out who his subscribers are. In case the channel is private then access is limited to only to those that are invited by the owner. Let us hope these teething troubles will be ironed out soon.
Dr P Vyasamoorthy,
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