Google’s solution to SMS groups message broadcasting and subscription. This service enables you to get content from Google, Google partners, and all other websites and blogs with RSS support.
You can create your own channel and publish content that other users can subscribe to. You can also create groups over SMS to communicate with your friends, family, and co-workers, SMS messaging service for India only that may prove to be incredibly useful for citizen groups and NGOs.This is a free service. You don’t pay anything to send or receive messages using Google SMS Channels website. When you post a message to your channel, all the members of your channel get the message forwarded for free. Any Indian mobile number will work with this service.You can use the service on the website or via your mobile phone.
There are many commercial group messaging solutions in India where the primary means of mobile communiations is SMS. However, unlike GupShup, Zook, and MyToday, Google’s SMS channel is two-way allowing for SMS discussions and also enabling subscribers to publish to the channel.
What does this mean for citizen media and NGO groups in India? A quick look at the many SMS groups already formed, shows that national, local news and citizen media organization have been quick to take advantage of Google’s SMS Channel. International news outfits such as Reuters, the BBC, and CNN India maintain news channels, and many Indian newspapers, TV stations, and other news outlets are represented as well.
We have seen other interesting examples elsewhere that would be able to use SMS Channels — Project Zumbido comes to mind, for example. The Projec, a pilot that ended due to the high costs of sending SMS, connected women with HIV/AIDS through SMS group texting for support and advice. Zumbido was hugely successful in demonstrating the huge potential to improve the quality of life of those living with HIV/AIDS by simply connecting those affeced, creating community and an instant support network.
We are looking forward to examples of NGOs using SMS Channels in India and will be watching how Google is rolling out this service in other parts of the world.
Google SMS Channel uses the normal number 9870807070, and not the premium short codes. So any SMS charge you incur is as low as you sending an SMS to your friend. There is no charge for receiving the updates.
SMS tariff charges may apply when you configure the service or publish to a channel using a mobile phone. Most of you don’t do this unless you want to start a new channel.
How Do I Use SMS Channel from Mobile Phones?
Create a Channel
To create a channel using phone, send the following SMS to 9870807070:
The Channel name should be at least 8 characters long. I have created a channel for anwar.com using the format
CREATE ANWARUPDATE Updates from theanwar.com on SMS, mobile, web development, information technology, management and the internet
This creates a public channel with name ANWARUPDATE.
You can change the properties by using the MODIFY command as below:
• To make the channel “private” (only allow people to subscribe by invitation by the owner) send the following SMS to 9870807070: MODIFY PRI
• To make a channel “public“, send the following SMS to 9870807070: MODIFY PUB
• To make channel publish privilege limited (only the owner can publish), send the following SMS to 9870807070: MODIFY PRISEND
• To allow all subscribers to publish to a channel send the following SMS to 9870807070: MODIFY PUBSEND
To search for a channel SMS SEARCH to 9870807070. You’ll be sent up to 3 channels matching your keyword(s) over SMS. To see more channels, you can reply MORE
Subscribe to a Channel
Send an SMS ON to 9870807070. is the name of the channel.
To subscribe to theanwar.com blog update channel, you would send the following SMS to 9870807070:
You’ll receive a confirmation message and the last message posted on the channel to confirm your subscription.
Control Maximum Alerts and Timing
To specify the maximum number of messages along with the time interval when you wish to receive the alerts in a day, send an SMS PREF to 9870807070. to be specified in hh:mm:am(or pm)format.
To unsubscribe using your phone, SMS OFF to 9870807070.