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Public cloud market leader Amazon Web Services (AWS) today announced a bunch of updates for the Simple Notification Service (SNS) service that automatically sends SMS messages to phones. Most importantly, SNS will now work outside the U.S. — support is available in 200 countries.

And AWS will operate the service out of six regional data centers, not just one: US East (Northern Virginia), US West (Oregon), Asia Pacific (Singapore, Sydney, and Tokyo), and EU (Ireland), AWS chief evangelist Jeff Barr wrote in a blog post.

There are new management features, too. You can choose to receive daily reports about successful and failed deliveries of text messages; receive delivery status logs; and manage phone numbers that have been opted out. Admins can set spending limits per month, per account, or per message.

And users no longer need to opt in to the SNS service before they can receive messages from it, Barr wrote.


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This is a substantial update to SNS, which first came out in 2010 and received push notification support in 2013. SNS isn’t the most popular service on AWS, but it’s one that used more often than you might think. Apps like Tinder, Wunderlist, Yelp, Yik Yak, and Yo rely on it.

For push needs, the Google public cloud offers Firebase Cloud Messaging and Microsoft has Notification Hubs, although neither supports SMS. Twilio, among other third parties, can provide SMS messaging for applications.

For years, people received text messages from AWS’ SNS service from a single number: 30304. But now that’s changing (RIP, 30304). Amazon is switching to a new system that will use a short or long string of numbers, Barr wrote.

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