Yaounde, Cameroon Africa(Cameroon News) – Google plans to launch its Gmail Sms Chat in West and Central Africa including Cameroon.
Google by way of Gmail permits subscribers to pass on chat messages with mobile phone users via SMS in 23 countries across the world, but now French mobile phone operator Orange is planning to enter into a synergy with the search major so as to offer the service to countries across Africa and the Middle East.
Gmail SMS Chat permits a Gmail user to pass on short text messages to someone who has even just a basic mobile phone even if the phone does not have Internet access or Gmail account. The user of the phone can also reply to the Gmail account.
Phone users need to pay money to send messages, as well a sometimes even receive them based on the clauses in their contract with the cell phone service provider.
The Gmail user would not need to pay any money, although Google does place a limit on the number of messages that can be sent out while every message to which a reply has been sent raises the bar, permitting five new messages to be sent.
Orange and Google have now finalized to expand the extent of the service.
The companies are presently concentrating on an older technical strategy to instant messaging, rather than looking at fostering mobile Internet access because, according to Orange, 62.5 percent of the population in Africa and the Middle East own a basic mobile phone service, while only 1.4 percent have broadband Internet access.
To send a message to a mobile phone user, a Gmail user would need to type in the phone number, specify the country to which the message is to be sent, and then type the message.
The phone owner is then asked if the: “(Gmail) user @ gmail.com sent you an SMS from Gmail. You can send a reply to this msg, or send STOP to opt out, HELP for more info.”
The message that comes next, is an auto message option sent from one of a pool of phone numbers manned by Google. By tracking the sender and the receiver of the message, Google can guarantee that the SMS replies to one of those numbers are sent across to the correct Gmail user.
Orange presently synergizes with Gmail SMS Chat in Kenya, Senegal and Uganda, and under the brand new deal inked recently will now extend it to Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea Conakry and Niger, with a trial version in Egypt, the company announced on Wednesday.
The final aim , is to extend the SMS-to-chat service to all 20 countries across Africa and the Middle East in where it presently has a presence in, it said.
But Orange’s ambitions do not end here. The operator also aspires to offer yet another, Google services via SMS in Africa the details of which it did not wish to reveal now.
Those services could well be an SMS version of “Person Finder,” an application developed by Google to bring together families and friends who lost touch with each other after a disaster.
Google has put in place versions of Person Finder after recent earthquakes in Haiti, New Zealand and Japan, but these were mostly directed towards people having a sturdy and speedy Internet connection to add data or to have a look at the database for information.
This would seem to be quite impossible especially if a calamity has struck the region, so as an entry for this year’s Random Hacks of Kindness competition, a group has set up an SMS interface for the application. Google’s Crisis Response team is proposing to integrate the SMS interface in a future version of Person Finder, the company said.
Outside Africa and the Middle East, Google already provides Gmail Chat SMS service in the U.S. through all operators, in Indonesia through Indosat and Telkomsel, and in the Philippines, through Globe, Smart and Sun Cellular.