Facebook Introduces Google SMS Like Service in India
Around this time last year, Google introduced SMS Channels in India that allowed mobile phone users to subscribe to information channels like news, weather, stocks, etc. through text messages.
Even bloggers could create SMS channels for their own blog (example) and send updates about new articles to their subscribers through SMS messages. The service is still around and continues to remain free for both publishers and mobile phone users though Google adds advertising in text messages.
Facebook recently introduced something similar in India so you can receive text updates on your mobile phone from the Facebook pages of your favorite brands, celebrities, restaurants or even websites.
As a mobile phone user, you can can join any Facebook page by simply texting fan <page_name> to 9232232665 (92FACEBOOK) from your mobile phone*.
For instance, if you want to join Digital Inspiration’s Facebook page, you can text “fan digital.inspiration” to 9232232665 from any mobile phone, and you will show up in the list of fans immediately.
Similarly, if you want to receive updates about a page on your cell, you can open that page on the Facebook site and choose “Subscribe via SMS”. To turn off updates, choose the unsubscribe option on the page itself or SMS “stop” to the same Facebook number - 9232232665.
Unlike Google SMS Channels which can be be used for both push updates and group communication, the SMS feature in Facebook is primarily push (for receiving updates from a page).
As a blogger, you can use this feature to notify readers about your most recently published articles while businesses can use Facebook SMS to communicate deals and offers with their customers (like Pizza Hut sending out discount coupons to all their fans in India via SMS).
*Before you start receiving updates from Facebook page, you need to activate Facebook Mobile. For that, just send a text message containing only the letter “f” (without quotes) to 9232232665 and you are done. I am not sure if your mobile carrier will charge your for any incoming text messages from Facebook but you’ll of course have to pay for sending one.
Google Developer Expert, Google Cloud Champion
Amit Agarwal is a Google Developer Expert in Google Workspace and Google Apps Script. He holds an engineering degree in Computer Science (I.I.T.) and is the first professional blogger in India.