First Look at “Google Voice”

I have been a user of Grand Central for about a year now, and have loved it. It lets me give out one number, and route calls to any, or all, or my phones simultaneously.  When I answer one phone, it connects the call to that number.

It provided not only a voicemail system, but an opportunity to record a call, and even download the voicemail or recording for later use (even as podcasts!)   Oh, and just like a regular answering machine in your house, there is an option to screen the call, listen as it records the voicemail, and jump in if it is “critical.”

Well, Google bought them (a while ago) and just today announced they are remaking it as “Google Voice.”

I have just converted to the new account, and Aaron over on Twitter (@aaronaiken) politely tested it with me.  He called, and I let it go to voice mail.  You can listen to the actual audio file below.

I watched as it first delivered the mail to the webpage inbox, and was immediately available to listen to, and download.

Then, after 2 minutes, provided the coolest new feature:


Yup, you read that right.  His voicemail was converted to text.  The darker the text in the display, the more confident the automated conversion system was of the words.  Here is a graphic of the actual voicemail.

First txt from Voicemail in Google VoiceAs you can see it was pretty confident.  And honestly, it should be.  It got most of the grey words correct as well.  I am sure “your mileage may vary” but it was quite good!  Perhaps most interesting, it deleted out all the “verbal pauses.”

Within another minute I was not only notified by text message on my iPhone that I had a voicemail, but they delivered the text of that voicemail as well!

I hope to be testing out other features later today–so be on the lookout for a podcast, recorded using Google Voice, and the new “conference Call” feature!

One more thing:  If you haven’t yet, please consider helping my son get to water polo camp.  Even a simple one, or two, dollar donation would be great!


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