No strings attached to Google SMS Channels yet

As many do, I like to keep an eye on what Google is doing. Google recently announced a free service called Google SMS Channels that enables, like the name suggests, channels and groups on SMS. Users can receive content from RSS feeds or from Google publishing partners or products like Google News, Blogger and Groups, or they can create channels to publish content, communicatte with groups via SMS.

The service is currently only being offered in India, though Google Labs plans a larger commercial launch in the near future. Google SMS channels is being offered for free, which naturally leads to the question of if–or, more likely, when–Google will be announcing mobile advertising along these SMS channels.

Google India’s Prasad Ram insists that “The SMS channel is in line with our endeavor to connect the 250-million mobile subscribers who have no access to information,” but it seems like it is only a matter of time before Google jumps on the mobile advertising bandwagon. Ram admits that “[b]anner advertisement and contextual marketing can be among many ways to monetise this channel.”

A global launch of Google SMS Channels would make inroads into reaching even more of the 3.3 billion cellphones worldwide, 97% of which are SMS enabled.