When Google+ launched in June of last year, SMS features were only available in India and the US. Now, Google announced in a blog post that the company has opened up the service to 41 new countries which are:
Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Bahrain, Benin, Cambodia, Cameroon, Congo (DRC), Cote D'Ivoire, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia.
The SMS translates to web activity
While Google+, in its efforts to get on every device, has iOS and Android apps out in their respective retail locations, they realize the importance of being able to share information when you don't have a data connection. The Google+ SMS service allows users to communicate with other Google+ users, including friends in their own Circles via SMS. The service in India supports all carriers (unlike Twitter, which only supports Reliance, Tata Docomo, Videocon and Bharti Airtel) and to send an SMS for a Google+ update, you type out your message and send it to +919222222222. Make sure you have the correct number of 2s in there. This service also supports all makes of mobile phones.
To set up the Google+ SMS service, as mentioned earlier, you need to first have a Google+ account. Then, you add your phone number in the Google+ settings page. You will receive a notification message on your phone that you've added your number. Enter the code from your phone into the verification box. You can then also select which further SMS notifications you want to receive. Of course, standard message and data rates might apply. Notifications include comments on your posts on Google+ as well as messages sent to you on Google+ itself. Furthermore, you can post updates to your Circles via SMS and respond to comments or +1 posts directly via your phone using SMS.
Google+ has also made it clear that there are security risks to this feature where an SMS can be spoofed. They say you can create an alphanumeric PIN in your notification delivery settings to secure your account. To use the alphanumberic pin you created, include the PIN before your SMS post and Circles. So an example would look like, “A1B2C3 Will see you at the game +soccer folks”. The +Soccer folks is the Circle you're sharing with.
While it's clear that Google+ has an SMS feature to increase activity on the social network, users first have to be active on the service for the web itself. What would have been nice is if users could send text messages to their friends who are not on Google+, just like how Google Voice provides cheap and free phone services. Do you use Google+? Will you use their SMS service? Let us know in the comments section below.