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Google launches Gmail SMS in selected African countries

The official Google Africa blog reports that the company has launched a new service called Gmail SMS in Africa. The countries where the service is deployed are Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria.

For people lacking internet connections in those countries, but who do have a phone, they can now use Gmail SMS to send and receive email. Emails are controlled by using commands via SMS like RESUME, MORE and PAUSE.

gmail_sms_google_africa_phone_gsm_email

If someone in the above countries would to register their phone to use Gmail SMS, this can be done through five steps:

1) Open your Google account
2) Open SMS settings in Phone and SMS section
3) Add phone to receive Gmail on that number
4) Verify the number by entering a verification code that has been sent to it
5) Check the box to forward incoming email messages

Many countries in Africa still lack decent internet connections, especially in the mobile arena: however GSM services are getting more available these days. And even when there are services like WiFi and/or 3G, most Africans cannot afford a smartphone and still have a simple feature phone.

This solution from Google can be just the thing for those people to be able to still use email, even if it is through the SMS channel. Nice!

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