Google Plus has expanded its ‘update and track via SMS’ feature to most of the countries in the Middle East, South Asia and Africa.
The feature, which lets you update and follow others’ updates on SMS on mobile phones, was initially available only in the US and India markets.
Others like Facebook and Twitter already support SMS-based updates and alerts, but only with some operators such as Tata DoCoMo, Videocon, Reliance etc.. Facebook, however, has tied up with third-party players to serve even subscribers on operators that it has not tied up with directly.
It was not clear whether the Google Plus SMS feature is available on all operators in the 43 countries in which it is available now.
Some people have started using the SMS feature on social networks, particularly Twitter, as a free-of-charge news alert service.
On twitter, users can choose which of the accounts they follow has the ability to push SMS updates to their phones.
Not surprisingly, the SMS update feature on Google Plus was thought up by its Indian engineers. Only about half of India’s 600 million phones support mobile-data. The others have to rely on text messages to keep in touch.
India is also home to unique SMS-chain companies that let you mass-distribute SMS jokes and other messages by following and being followed by a large number of mobile subscribers on the network.
Many of these networks have been affected by recent anti-spam regulations in the country.