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Thursday Poll: Traditional Text Message or Free Messaging Service?

instant messages

A reader turned me onto an interesting Associated Press article that focused on the state of the free instant messaging/texting world and how much money carriers have been losing because of it. In 2011 alone, carriers saw a decrease in profits of around $14 billion dollars as consumers have moved onto Blackberry Messenger, iMessage, Google Talk and other services that can send messages using data instead. Before you feel too bad for them, know that they reportedly still took in an estimated $153 billion from text messages. A 9% decrease year-over-year is pretty massive though. Carriers are now looking to creating their own solutions on this front so that they can hopefully help save this particular cash cow industry before it’s gone for good.

So this all got us wondering – how do you interact with friends and family?  Through the dinosaur method text messaging or with a free instant messaging/texting service?

*Note – We would include Google Voice in the “instant messaging” category since it’s free and is an alternative to standard text messaging.

Text Message or Instant Messaging Service?

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Cheers @kaufkin!

  • marballe

    Their profits went from messaging to data.

  • They will still make money no matter what too many folks with Smart Phones that do not know they even have Gtalk or what it is and thus only text message. Sadly it will take another 10 years before texting is completely obsolete. 

  • jtwildman1

    Companies like Verizon will never lose money.
    I promise they will raise the price somewhere else if everyone stopped their texting plan. Besides, it’s really
    Not that expensive,I spend more on a Red Bull 🙂

  • schwinn8

    GV is my SMSing platform now. It requires a diffrent phone number (I was lucky to get a single digit change from my existing phone number). It confuses some people, so I get the occasional traditional text, which costs me money, but it’s cheaper than $10/month for 500 text messages and such through VZ. Besides, I can tell them to use the other number, and people usually get it. It’s well worth the effort, really. Eventually, I may block standard SMSs, but the occasional text from new people is tolerable.

  • KatsumeBlisk

    I mainly use standard SMS because the people I talk to don’t have smartphones. Of course, I don’t really talk the them even. I’ve started using Google Voice for everything, but it’s still for texting and I pay for texting still.

  • I don’t use GVoice, but I am trying to transition my friends over to GTalk whenever possible. It’s easier, quicker and cheaper than texting.

  • JayB

    I hate regular sms texting. I wish everyone would either use G Talk or Google Plus messenger. I love the ICS G Talk.

  • LOL at the money they are “losing”.

    Google Voice was one of the reasons I got an Android smartphone in the first place! The hell if I’m going to spend $0.25 to send a text when I’m already paying for unlimited data! email is free, why does anyone still text?

    (and stop saying “because I know people without smartphones. That’s a lie, everyone has a smartphone.)

  • Dionhurd

    Unlimited texting……so why not just text??

  • Michael Lewis

    It’s a pain in the butt trying to get all your friends to use the same free text messaging service….

  • Craig

    Texting is for the kiddies. Why use text when one can send a push email without all the limitations. Personally, I rarely send a text and I get mad if someone sends me one. I think these carriers charging 20 cents a pop is nothing but a huge scam especially when I already pay $30 monthly for data.

  • I didn’t know you could send SMS thru GTalk.  That doesn’t sound right.

  • Craig Lambert

    I realize the earnings for SMS may have gone down but I’d be shocked not to learn that their earnings for data plans have gone way up.  True they’re not making more than they would have but they’re still making more than if their users just had SMS.  Am I missing something?  FWIW, SMS is totally disabled on my phone.  I use Google Voice & gTalk.

  • I have Google Voice and Google Talk and I use both (Voice for just voicemail and talk for chat), but fact is a far higher number of friends don’t have these services and therefore its far easier to text via normal cell number. So, that is used predominantly and I have a family plan with unlimited texting as a result.

  • Brian Worhatch

    Not enough people use those free messaging services or can’t strictly only use that

  • sidney547

    Doesn’t the other party need to have the same service?  It doesn’t seem practical/worth it.

    • Correct, but ALL Android users have gtalk.  That’s like over half of smartphone users right there.  The other half have iPhones, so who wants to talk to them anyway.

      • sidney547

         Don’t worry, I don’t associate with THOSE people lol

  • my messaging platform is not by choice. try to get really stubborn people to download and install an app .. its like pulling teeth, especially iphone people.if i could ditch texts and the 20 bucks a month extra i pay for unlimited texts i would…

  • I use Google Voice for almost all of my text msging because in addition to my Android phone I also am a heavy user of my iPod touch and I like to be able to pick up either device and to see my texts.  I also use the web based Google Voice site on my work desktop.  I only use my regular text msging app / service to send / receive photos.  If Google Voice allowed photos I would have no use for regular msging.

  • GawkerRedesignSucks

    My friends and family all use standard texting so I have to as well.  I thought about going the Google Voice route, but porting my number on Verizon would be too complicated and I don’t want to use the GV number.

  • if google voice allowed me to group text more than the 5 people limit now, and mms, I would use it so much more. kinda half and half now. Im grandfathered into $5mo unlimited vz to vz and 50msgs to non vz. so anyone that doesnt use vz gets msged from google voice.