New hints about Gmail international smsing

by: Moshe Brevda

Previously noted, Gmail temporarily had a (non working) option to send sms’s to international cell phones (before they removed the sms option from Gmail Labs). (sms is currently limited to us phones) At the time, one of the error messages Gmail gave when trying to sms an international phone was “Your message was not delivered. [some number] cannot be verified as a valid mobile number…”, leading to the obvious question: what is a verified number, and how do you verify your number?

Recently, Google has added the option to reset the password of a Google Account by SMS. Obviously, an option like this is a form of verification of your mobile number, by virtue of the fact that you wouldn’t put in anybody else phone number - as this would put your account security at risk.

Additionally, there have been reports new accounts requiring sms activation. And for the longest time, you could receive your Google Calendar updates by sms - if you verify your phone first.

All of these requirements would seem to be a step towards gathering a database of verified sms users which would fulfill two of Google’s important rules. First, it would prevent spamming, as you wouldn’t be able to sms a “random” unverified number. Only Google users who verified there numbers will be “textable”. There will probably be an opt-out option as well. Second, it will allow Google to monitor sms habits by not only seeing what you are writing, but also by knowing exactly to whom you are sending the sms, and if that person reply’s, etc.

Bringing them yet one step closer to knowing more about you than you know about yourself.