Feeds

Google tosses free texting

iPhone app vendors betrayed

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Google is pulling access to the XMPP API that allows third-party applications to send SMS messages with the Mountain View chocolate factory footing the bill, much to the annoyance of app developers.

Most notable amongst the companies taking advantage of Google's largess is Innerfence, whose "Infinite SMS" iPhone application was little more than a pretty wrapper for the API that allowed buyers to send SMS messages around the world while Google paid the network operators for the traffic. That was a relationship which was hardly going to last forever.

Innerfence didn't get a lot of notice of the API being pulled, as the company explained: "Our first warning was an unexpected call from Google on Monday, 9 March 2009, indicating that the service might be blocked as soon as the very next day". Innerfence immediately pulled its application from the iTunes store, but those who bought the application prior to that are pretty annoyed to be told it's now useless.

As one buyer put it: "Where is the money that I used to buy this SMS app? I want an explonation[sic] why we shouldn’t get a refund. Make a new app that does the same thing."

Making a new application to send free SMS won't be easy. Sending text messages isn't cheap as Twitter discovered, and while there used to be hundreds of gateways offering free texting in the hope of drawing traffic, Google is one of the last.

Even Google can't keep paying operators without any recompense, and it's issued a statement making it clear that while the API was publicly announced it never emerged from the Google Labs, and therefore third parties shouldn't have bet their business model on it. "While Google is supportive of third party apps, we've decided we can't support this particular usage of our system at this time," it said. "SMS chat is still just an experiment in the early testing stages in Gmail Labs."

Buyers of Infinite SMS should have understood that nothing is free, and if Google can't find a way of turning a profit by paying to carry other people's traffic, then odds are no one else is going to manage either. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Mighty Blighty broadbanders beg: Let us lay cable in BT's, er, ducts
Complain to Ofcom that telco has 'effective monopoly'
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.