Giving more of my life over to The Google

Not longer after Google bought Grand Central, I signed up before it was closed and I had a Grand Central number — which I used as my published work number (and am starting to use elsewhere) I signed up with the motivation that I needed email-notifications of voicemails — which NC State — at least NC State analog voice — doesn’t have.

In my current job, because of the IM, Email and other connectivity — and the nature of our work team interaction — I don’t have a lot of phone conversations with my immediate colleagues, I’m not very phone oriented to begin with — and most of the calls I received at work were cold-call vendor calls — and then sometimes cold-call support calls — which created enough interrupt problems that it all started me having the cold-calls go straight to voicemail. All of which was problematic because those were infrequent enough that I’d never check voicemail — and it all got worse as I started telecommuting more.

I hate voicemail, it has to be the most incredibly inefficient mechanism for notification ever. So at least getting email notifications improved at least the blind queuing problem — but voicemail is still incredibly bad.

That’s why I was a bit excited about the Grand Central to the Google Voice transition. And they didn’t disappoint.

Here’s what Google Santa brought me with Google Voice (and yes, I know some of you with asterisk or other actually modern voice services/company pbx systems have had this, but I haven’t with any of my services, other than AT&T’s visual voicemail on the iPhone):

MP3 Recording I can click on the link in the email notification and play the voice mail on my iPhone — I can send the mp3 to somebody else easily. I can keep them in an archive if I need to — it’s not tied up some bell-system computer somewhere, it’s not a proprietary format. I no longer have to hold up a computer microphone to the headset to try to get a recording, or figure out the arcane forwarding commands of somebody’s phone mail system.

SMS/Email Notifications that work — holy heck, I can get an email and a SMS when I have voicemail. The SMS was a bit hit-or-miss with Grand Central — but I’ll cut them some slack, they were pretty busy with this transition I imagine.

Transcription WOW. This actually works. I realize this technology has been out there in various places for a while. At least the voice mail hell systems I’ve been caught within know when I start cursing at vendors that stick me in them. But I get this — with my voicemail — and sent in the email and SMS notifications. It’s great — and it’s going to be a laugh riot for a while — case in point:

My Test Voicemail

Here’s the transcript:

hey i’m just trying out my very own blue foley service hopefully you ohh transcribe this email and then i will call soon send me an S M S notification to her anyway have a great day and maybe i can my dog to talk i’m not sure training can you tell anyway bye

To be totally fair — they do indicate the words they have issues with:


Hi-laree-us. I almost want phone calls again.