Often at work, I will fire a brief text-message from my cell-phone for a cheer-them-up, or a "just thinking about you."
However, I find that while typing a response email on the Blackberry's full keyboard isn't too difficult, trying to compose anything more than a few words is a bit challenging using a cell-phone keypad.
Lavie "misplaced" her Samsung Sync phone last week, so we made a costly (mid-contract) replacement to her phone after we had it disabled while we fruitless turned the house over looking for it.
She settled on a Nokia 6555b (red) model. I say "settled" as we discovered that to get a full-keyboard-style phone with AT&T would (currently) require purchase of an extra monthly "data-package" charge, even if she just wanted the keyboard for SMS texting. Bummer.
So I was very excited when I found that Google has quietly had a fun and useful little plugin for Firefox to help with sending SMS text messages to supported cell phone carriers.
Hello to my new little friend!
Google Send to Phone - Firefox Add-on
Browse to the website and click the "Install Now" link to the .xpi file.
A user agreement will pop-up, then once you agree, you will be able to install the Add in.
Reboot and a tiny cell-phone icon will appear in the top right corner of your Firefox window.
Select some text in Firefox (regardless if you want to send that or something else) then click the icon.
A pop-up window will appear. Enter the number of the cell phone user you wish to send the text message to (the example has "dashes" in the phone number, but it will work fine without them).
Select the carrier (if supported), we use AT&T so we are good.
Click the check-box if you wish to save the numbers/carriers you frequently use.
Enter a subject line if you wish.
Type your text to send. A little counter at the bottom shows how many characters you are sending, and will automatically break your message up into multiple parts if it exceeds the characters-per-message limits set by the carrier chosen.
Privacy? Be Aware...
Will using this tool make you candidate for SMS spam? Probably not.
Google does make the following statement on their Extensions Privacy Page:
Google Send to Phone
• When you use the Google Send to Phone Extension, Google will log the IP address [?] where the message originated, the carrier name and the phone number. We do this to operate, develop and improve our services. We also occasionally log the text that is sent, in order to investigate and correct technical problems.
You've been advised.
Compatibility & Firefox 3.0
Google's Send to Phone extension is officially compatible with Firefox 1.0 and above.
Except if you try to install it into Firefox 3.0 (betas/nightlies) you will get the message that "Google Send to Phone requires Firefox 1.0 or later" and are offered a link to download the latest version of Firefox.
There is no link offered by Google to download the .xpi installer directly and manually install it into Firefox.
But I wasn't ready to give up the fight. I pondered various techniques to try to get that .xpi file:
- Run a packet sniffer and capture the URL link during the download/installation into a Firefox 2.0 build. (A bit of overkill.)
- Run Process Monitor and identify where the .xpi is temporarily downloaded prior to installation. (Based on that method, it appears to create a temporary file which is removed when installed)
- Run Firefox 184.108.40.206, install the XPI, and when the installer window comes up, the download source is listed. Right-click on the source provided and pick "select all." Then paste the resulting URL location into a notepad session for safe keeping. Close Firefox 2 and open up Firefox 3 and past the link into the address bar. The download of the .xpi will launch immediately. (Pretty simple, but a bit of a shuffle between browsers.)
- In Firefox 3, browse to the Send to Phone Install page, on the menu bar for Firefox, click "View" then "Page Source." About mid-way down, find the link (Line 53) in the page code. Copy that URL link then paste it back into the address bar. The installer should kick off. (Easy!)
Yes, I could just post the link here, but that kind-of skirts the EULA terms of service a bit, and it only seems fair to Google to point you to that page before you go getting the link to download the add-on.
Of course, you might have to disable add-on compatibility checking for it to work. I've already done it on my Firefox 3 builds so I didn't get any complaints during the installation.
Post-install, the Google Send to Phone extension seems to work just fine in Firefox 3.0 (nightlies/betas). Your results may vary.
Works pretty good, but it feels a bit clunky for some reason to me.
I really like that this one is right in Firefox, and has such a plain and simple interface to use.
Worth looking into, especially if you have an unlimited text-message plan with your mobile carrier, or come from an slightly earlier generation and keying in text on a standard cell-phone alpha/number pad is a bit awkward.
Spotted via gHacks.net