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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Google Voice Transcription Service Cool, but not quite there yet.

So, I was a member since way back. In case you weren't aware, GrandCentral was a service that gave you a free phone number that aim at all of your phones--work, home, mobile, Skype, etc. So, all of your contacts call one number and voila, which ever phone you're at will ring. Bestest service EVER!

Shortly after I signed up with them, they were bought by Google. After years of no improvements whatsoever, GrandCentral was finally folded into Google and were then reborn as "Google Voice." Very exciting! They even had new features and services. My favorite is that I can tell calls from some people to go straight through to my phones without me having to answer my phone and then approving the call. YES. Simple = good!

One feature I didn't ask for, but do think is pretty cool none the less, is voicemail transcription.

The idea is this: you can miss a phone call that then gets sent to voicemail, but maybe you're busy in a meeting or (like me) on a subway and can't call to get your messages. So, Google Voice will transcribe them and then email them to you. Pretty neat, huh? The only catch is, their voice recognition software, as you might expect, isn't quite there yet.

This afternoon after leaving her temp job, my wife left me this message. Well, according to Google Voice, my wife left me this message:

hey it's mike i am just now getting out of the library and i'm slightly calling the right but i will jump on the a from with united soon i love you and i hope to be home around six forty five seven operator love you bye bye

Yeah, I didn't know my wife's name was "Mike" either. Not sure why she'd be "calling the right slightly" unless she's curious about converting from the Democrats. "The a" is a reference to the A-Train, so that makes sense, but why she'd do it "with united" is not a question I can answer. Nor can I tell you why the operator might love me.

So, sadly, Google Voice's transcriptions end up reading a bit like a poorly translated VCR manual.

Ah well, Google knows they own my soul, and I know all my base belongs to them.

Posted via email from thepete's posterous


  1. Well, to Google Voice's credit, I was slightly drunk that afternoon, and I was having a hallucination that I had suddenly gained a beard and became Michael Nesmith for an hour or so. Knit cap and all...

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