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Google kills free SMS messaging in third-party apps

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By Charles Starrett

Contributing Editor
Published: Wednesday, March 11, 2009
News Categories: Apps + Games

Google will today shut down a feature of its Gmail service that allowed third-party applications to send SMS messages using Google’s servers. According to Inner Fence, developers of the iPhone SMS app Infinite SMS, Google contacted them Monday regarding their decision to shut down the feature, causing Inner Fence to pull their product from the App Store, despite the fact that it was among the Top 10 Paid Apps on the store. Google has notified Inner Fence that the service will be officially blocked starting today. Below is Google’s official statement on the matter.

“Infinite SMS is a third party app that has been using Google technology to provide free SMS for users, while we were paying for the cost of the text messages. While Google is supportive of third party apps, we’ve decided we can’t support this particular usage of our system at this time…. We’re blocking all external XMPP clients from sending SMS; we’re not singling out Inner Fence.” Inner Fence notes that Apple doesn’t offer them a way to issue refunds, saying, “[h]opefully, at 99¢ people will feel like our app paid for itself after only a few messages.”

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