Zimbabwe and regional technology news and updates


Google launches Gmail SMS in more African countries

Gmail SMS

Gmail SMSGoogle has announced through its Google Africa blog that it has launched Gmail SMS in Uganda, Tanzania and Malawi. In Uganda Google is working with MTN, Uganda Telecom and Orange, in Tanzania with Vodacom and in Malawi with Airtel and TNM. Gmail SMS has been around for some time in Africa. The service is currently supported in Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal and Zambia.

Basically, Gmail SMS enables Gmail users to chat with mobile subscribers on any mobile phone capable of SMS, which is about every mobile phone out there. The Google Talk user is not charged for the chat messages they send but the mobile phone subscriber is charged the regular SMS rate for the chat messages that they send to Gmail.

It’s really somewhat similar to what ForgetMeNot Africa and Econet are doing on the Econet network locally with eTXT. The small difference is that Gmail SMS is built into Gmail and you get the clear option to just send an SMS to a mobile subscriber in a supported country. SMSs generated by the eTXT system are originated as a normal email to a mobile number email address like or a chat message to the email address.

It’s important to note here though that eTXT is not just about Gmail; in addition to Gmail services eTXT also offers SMS communication with Facebook, Facebook chat, Live Messenger, MSN, Yahoo and other such services

We imagine Telecel and NetOne would do well to see Gmail SMS as an opportunity to offer some kind of chat message to compete against Econet. Or maybe just go ahead and talk to ForgetMeNot Africa and have eTXT implemented on their networks too.

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11 thoughts on “Google launches Gmail SMS in more African countries

  1. I am liking the local competition and the future indeed looks interesting with all these technologies cropping up!!!

      1. The reason why this website was started i’m sure was based on the principal i’m going to quickly try to explain. Had everyone opted to read and rely on PC-Format and PC-World instead it would stunt the growth of local websites such as this one. Right?… Right!!!

        Zim Companies and corporates are now avoiding R & D altogether they just adopt some third party alternative at the expense of local developers and innovation.

        The real benefit is in owning technologies not adopting them. Do you have any idea how many potential local jobs are lost when such solutions are imported.

        Software is the one thing that we can succeed at as country because it doesn’t necessarily need a lot of capital investment. widely used complex technologies such as PHP where single handedly developed by twenty year old hobbyists without a budget in their mother’s basements.

        Westerners (I don’t want to say white people) have confidence that Africans seem to lack. When a 20 something year old American teenager discovered a weakness/limitations in a technology that a multi billion dollar entity Sun Microsystems had developed and “perfected” he took it upon himself to find a $20 solution the he will implement himself. Why???

        He was confident that the his country would accept and embrace his solution and by extension him. Because of this confidence he new the”system” had in him he spent that larger part of his early twenty quietly developing a solution that he took personal responsibility to solve. When he finished he released it for Free!!! Because it showed potential Microsoft, Tweeter, Google, Sun Microsystems etc all came on board to sponsor it now they have all adopted JQuery. Mozilla went further and gave the young man a job.

        In Zim it seems the same is not true. Companies like Econ$t and Netone don’t seem to have confidence in or care about local expertise. The only time they look to local developers is to develop an alternative to Pastel. Why not challenge local developers to develop something more useful like an SMS service and promise them that if it shows promise (Which it will!!!) big companies and Zimbos will invest time and pride into it, embrace it, sponsor it (maybe) and eventually adopt it.

        When Econ$t want to implement a new service they should look to Zim developers ( I mean the guys still in Uni and High school) and challenge them to take responsibility for the solution, Zimbos and Africans should be convinced that we don’t have to always settle for a foreign innovation (even if its Google) to solve our problems, LETS MAN UP FOR GOODNESS SAKE AND MSOLVE OUR OWN PROBLEMS FOR ONCE! i mean if Netone relies on foreign innovation for something as simple (relatively) as an sms sending software what can local developers look forward to then???? There are too many issues Healthcare, Policing, Education, Agriculture etc that Google and the UN won’t help us with. So what? do we wait now until some young kid in America comes up with a solution? Being quick to embrace foreign solution before we look at our own ability to solve through our own comfortable and suitable means in my opinion is a weakness that stants growth

        an be improved by innovations from locals. This will only ever happen if they (Big companies) and us (Zimbos) show confidence and pride in our developers and onovations. Innovations not Google will change the world. Google this, Google that, I WANT Zimgle demnit!!!

        1. Why wallow in trying to recreate technologies that are already there. Do you want to be a zimcopter developer too. We lack a good platform, resources, and a competitive environ to innovate and learn cutting edge software development. I am of the opinion that my kid will in future do software development hobbies because then, this industry will be “hobbiable”, ie many will be able to do it in their basements as you said. But for now we need a platform that will enable us to tap into “what the world has got”. And i think this Google thing is lekker. They should bring a Microsoft too. Some guys are doing well through the Microsoft programs here in Mzansi

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