Level: Basic


Around last year, Google decided to add the SMS-feature to it’s widely popular Gmail product. The idea is that once two parties are chatting online via gtalk and one of them goes offline, then hopefully the conservation can seamlessly continue over SMS on the offline parties cell phone. In Uganda, Google so far supports Uganda Telecom, MTN and Orange Uganda carriers.  In this how to, i’ve tried to use pseudo values in order to conceal the right contacts of the people in my Contact Book.


Step One:

Go to settings, then click on Labs. Scroll down till you see “SMS (text messaging) in Chat” and click on the Enable radio button.

SMS (text messaging) in Chat

Step Two:

Go to contacts and find the person whom you want to send a text message. Click on the contact and a an editable form containing their details comes up. Click on “Add phone” and their their phone numbers. Remember only Uganda Telecom,  MTN and Orange Uganda are supported at the time of this writing.

Add recipient’s cell phone number


Step Three:

Go to the chat window and hover, over the contact you want to send a text message. A popup dialog box will come up. Be sure to click on the chat icon which the first or second icon.

Popup that comes when you hover over a contact in the chat sidebar

A chat window will come up on the bottom right corner of your browser informing that the contact is offline but they will receive the messages over SMS. Type in your 160 character message and hit the Enter key.

Send SMS to your offline contact

If the contact is online, click on the More option in the little chat window, then Send Text(SMS) in the menu that follows.

Chat options for online contact

The recipients phone number will be displayed to you and your free SMS credits. Gmail limits you to only 50 free text messages/month. So use wisely!