Services & Software

New GotVoice features

GotVoice launches its own voice-mail service and other necessary features.

I am in favor of any tool that saves me from listening to voicemail on a phone. I use CallWave (review) on my cellular line to shunt voice mails to my e-mail, and I've been using GotVoice (review) on my home phone for the same purpose. GotVoice, to date, has been a bit of a hack: It got your voice mails by dialing up your voice mail, just as you did, and then entering the right touch tones so your messages would play, which it then recorded and sent to you. Pure replacement voice-mail systems (like CallWave, SpinVox, and SimulScribe [review]) work better. Now GotVoice is joining that camp, and adding other tools to bring it up to feature parity. As long as you can set your phones to forward calls when there's no answer, you can use GotVoice's new visual voice-mail answering service. If you can't do that, the GotVoice brute-force approach to recording your messages will still work.

The system will now transcribe messages, just like the competing systems do. I've found these transcription services to have much less than perfect recognition, but they're good enough so you can tell which messages are important.

GotVoice also has a cool text-to-speech feature for replying to voice mails: On your PC or your mobile, you can reply with text to a voice or transcribed message, and GotVoice will send your text via SMS if the recipient is a mobile phone; for landline phones, it will convert your message to speech and read it to the person or machine who answers. That's clever.

You can also use GotVoice to blast one recording out to multiple recipients. Features the GotVoice team are prepping for future releases inlcude "barge-in," like CallWave offers, so you can listen in on people leaving you messages and pick up the call before they hang up, and the capability to have custom greetings for particular callers.

There's a free version of GotVoice, but the transcription feature is only available as part of the paid service ($9.95 a month). CallWave's transcription feature is free.