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Gmail Downgrades, Launches SMS Version for African Countries

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While we’re used to seeing upgrades from our favorite products, has made an important step in the opposite direction.

Google launched Gmail SMS Wednesday, offering a -based email solution for people in Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana. Gmail SMS is a tech downgrade, but it’s a lifestyle upgrade for email users without consistent Internet access.

“There’s so much you do with it: apply for a job, make an inquiry, get notifications from your social network, receive photos or an invitation that makes you smile, and just communicate back and forth with your friends,” said a post on Google’s Africa blog.

“However, sometimes barriers arise between you and your email. What if you’re not by a computer? Or your phone is not connected to the internet? Or the internet is down or too slow, so that emails just won’t load?”

Gmail SMS, a free product, allows mobile phone users to send and receive emails without a Wi-Fi or 3G connection. The new product is designed for the most basic of phones, supporting only voice and SMS.

The Google Africa blog post outlined setting up Gmail SMS in five steps:

  • 1. Select “Account” at the top right hand corner of your Gmail web browser.

  • 2. Select “Open SMS settings” in the phone and SMS section.

  • 3. Enter the phone number where you’d like to receive emails.

  • 4. Enter a verification code sent to your phone as an SMS.

  • 5. Select to have emails forwarded to your phone.

How do you think Gmail SMS will help the ? What other products would you like to see adapted for feature phones? Let us know in the comments.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/07/18/gmail-sms/

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