send text messages via Google Talk

Google not so recently added another service that would allow you to send messages to a cellphone in SMS format through your GMail or Google account.

supposedly it only works in the US. that is, you must be a subscriber of one of the major US carriers like Verizon, Cingular, Sprint and/or T-Mobile to name a few.

for us here in the Philippines who just love FREE text, that just sucks, huh?! well not really.

here’s a step by step guide on how you could go around this US-only limitation:

1.) you must have a GMail account. if you don’t have one, find someone who does and let him/her invite you. or go to this page,

2.) get an IM client that supports the Jabber* protocol. examples of this are Kopete and Gaim (both for Linux). Windows users can download the Google Talk client. related info here

3.) fire up your IM client. set your configurations to:

  • for Linux users using Kopete and/or Gaim, or those using third party clients:
    1. add an account and select the Jabber protocol.
    2. in the account name or Jabber ID, place your Gmail/Google account, e.g.
    3. use protocol encryption (SSL)
    4. allow plain-text password authenticaion
    5. set server to:
    6. set port to: 5223
  • for those using a Google Talk client skip to the next steps.4.) now login to this account using your GMail/Google account password.

    5.) add the cellphone number to your buddy list like this:

  • format: (country code)+(carrier prefix)+(7 digit number)

    6.) you should immediately see the newly added contact in your list. the contact status should be online.

    after doing all these steps, text away and test if your message goes through. this should work fine on Globe and Smart. i don’t know if it works with the other Philippine carriers. don’t abuse the system or else they might cut this neat service.

    this is really kewl for Linux users since Chikka doesn’t have a decent client for non-Windows operating systems. and since Kopete/Gaim are multi-protocol clients you don’t have to open another application for this. everything is there in one little window!

    some assumptions:

  • Chikka policies/TOS should apply. for example:
    1. the receiving party must reply to the sender after a certain number of messages have been sent (3 i guess) or the block-feature will kick in.
    2. the number of free messages per day is also limited. but hey at least you get some for free.
  • the intended receiver of the text message doesn’t have to have a chikka account tied up to his/her numbera few quirks:
  • i’ve mainly tested this on Kopete. Trigger, the one who passed me this valuable piece of information used it on Gaim. another friend of mine succesfully tested it on a Google Talk client. there are some instances when the newly added contact will not show up as online in your list depending on the client. in that case, you won’t be able to send a message to that contact. try to logout, quit the application, then start it again and login. but this doesn’t work all the time. i still don’t know why others should show the same contact as online while in my list it doesn’t.*Google Talk uses the open, XML-based protocol called Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol, or XMPP for short. this is the same protocol that is used by Jabber, and is being fondly called as Jabber protocol. click on these links for more information:,
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    Notice: This article was published on October 23, 2006 and the content above may be out of date.