A 2011 Pew Research Center study found that three out of four Americans who own wireless phones send text messages. However, when you use your wireless provider's normal SMS functions, your messages are stuck on your phone. Using a third-party messaging service, you can send and receive text messages on your phone and also read them online.
Create a new Google Voice account (link in Resources), which offers voice mail and SMS text messaging via either a smartphone app or a desktop Web browser. During the setup process, select a Google Voice number. This will be the number your friends and family must use to send you text messages.
Sign into Google Voice, click the "gear" icon and choose "Settings." Click "Voicemail and Text" and select "Forward Text Messages to My Email" if you want to receive copies of your messages in your inbox.
Click "Texts" in the left pane to view any text messages that have been sent to your Google Voice number. Click the red "Text" button to send a text from Google Voice.
Create an AIM account (link in Resources). This instant-messaging service from AOL enables you to send and receive text messages to any phone from your desktop or smartphone app.
Sign into AIM, enter the number to which you want to send your SMS in the "Start Chatting With" box and press "Enter," or click a mobile number under "Contacts." Type your message and click "Send." Once you've sent a message, the recipient can respond to your AIM account. People can also send you text messages by sending the message to "256-010" and starting the message itself with your username followed by a colon.
View your messages by clicking the contact whose messages you want to view in the "Contact List." You can also type a contact's name or phone number to find your messages to and from that person.
Install Yahoo Messenger on your computer. Messenger enables you to send and receive text messages, either from your computer or an app for your smartphone. Unlike AIM or Google Voice, Yahoo Messenger can only send text messages to phones with supported carriers.
Sign into Yahoo Messenger, choose "Send SMS" from the File menu, enter a recipient's number and press "Return," then type your message and press "Return" to send. Once you send a message to a recipient, he can reply using his phone's text messaging. You can also send a text message by signing into Yahoo Mail, clicking the arrow beside "Compose Message" and choosing "SMS."
View your messages by choosing "Conversation History" from the "Contacts" menu in Messenger for Windows, or by signing into your Yahoo Mail account on the Web and clicking "Conversations" in the left pane.
- Only messages you send and receive using the above services will be visible online. All of the above services offer apps for most smartphones, so that you can send text messages on the go.
- Your messages won't appear to your recipients with your voice phone number, so you should include your name in your initial messages.
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