Tested: ReQall, aka Dictaphone 2.0

ReQall transcribes the notes you speak into it. It won't create Outlook tasks or appointments, though.

ReQall is a telephone-based service that records notes you speak into it. I saw a demo of this service at Demo 07 and just recently got access to the private beta. It's like an automated secretary: You talk into your phone, and it transcribes what you say and sends it to you as e-mail. The service could be very useful--if it learns to play well with other products.

Talk about a late lunch... CNET Networks

As is, it's still handy. If you're driving and remember something you need to do, you can just speed-dial ReQall on your cell phone, dictate a note, and when you get back to the office you'll see the task in your e-mail. In my tests from a new cell phone, the voice recognition was spot on (I used a Samsung BlackJack , which is known for good voice quality). It took several minutes for voice notes to get transcribed and sent, though, and I didn't try it from a moving car.

And although ReQall knows the difference between tasks, notes, and appointments, it doesn't do much with that information. All voice notes are sent to your e-mail and flagged with their type, but they're not otherwise packaged as appointments or tasks. So, for example, to make a ReQall note like, "Lunch today with Sam," into a meeting, you have to create a new meeting in your PIM and copy the text over. It would be much better if ReQall knew what calendar you used and either sent you the appropriate attachment (for Outlook users) or logged into your Web-based calendar (like Google or Yahoo) and added it for you. Also, note to ReQall programmers: Lunch is usually at noon or thereabouts, not 12 a.m.

Update: I'm told that ReQall's speech-to-text engine isn't wholly automated. "We use a combination of automated speech recognition technology and human transcription," a company co-founder told me. Which means there may be someone listening to your notes and to-do items. Yikes!

 

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