Google has now started offering free SMS via GMail. The free SMS service is now tucked into your GMail account and sends out to Smart, Globe and Sun Cellular subscribers.
Discovered it this afternoon and tried it.
The SMS will come from a short-code, 4664096.
Yahoo! Messenger used to do this back in early 2000 and it was very popular then. Yahoo! discontinued it because of the cost of the volume of SMS.
Not sure how Google does it but they might have the same business model as Chikka.
Update: Sent a reply back and this is now it appears in your GMail account.
The SMS reply costs Php2.00. So it basically competes with Chikka and undercuts it by Php0.50. Looks like it’s been around for some time now but just discovered it. :D