Good news, Pinoys! You can now sign up with the uber-cool GMail service even without an invitation from someone who already has an account. Google now supports SMS verification for Philippine mobile numbers.
Simply log in to the GMail signup page, and fill in your mobile number and the anti-spam sequence. You will then receive a code via SMS within a few seconds.
Google activated SMS verification a few months back, but only started to support non-US numbers recently. Why SMS?
You need to receive and enter a special invitation code in order to create an account. Currently, we are only sending these codes as text messages to mobile phones. So you will need to have a mobile phone with text message capabilities (most phones have this) and the invitation code itself.
Looks like Google is also planning new SMS-related features to add to their already cool Gmail service.
We’re also working on some new mobile features that will make your Google account more useful and secure, such as SMS alerts and password recovery. When you sign up using your mobile phone, you can choose to save your number with your account so you can use these features as soon as they become available.
With invite-free signups, I think there’s no reason for Pinoys not to use GMail (I notice Pinoys seem to prefer Yahoo Mail). It’s fast, it’s secure, and I love the threaded-view interface and the searchability–it makes my life easier not having to deal with gazillions of single email messages! If I need anything, I just search away.