There a few key settings in order to be able to record notes to yourself and have Google Voice transcribe them for you. You can get those from that Lifehacker link, but there’s an addition note I want to make now that I’ve actually tried this.
It works, but only sort of, and you have to speak really slowly and clearly. It’s hard and actually kind of takes some practice, because the first couple times I did it, I started off slow, and Google did well with the transcription, but then I focused more on what I wanted to say and not how I was saying it and the end of the transcriptions came out like a monkey was at the keyboard.
Nevertheless, you can usually get the gist of what you wanted to make a note of, and it’s usually easier to speed-dial your GV account than it is to try to pound out a text message (or even a “note” on your smartphone). It’s also more useful than a voice note (again, if your smartphone allows for that), because you get at least some of it transcribed correctly for you, and automatically emailed to you (instead of having to send it to yourself after recording and then transcribe it from there).
So, go ahead, all tens of you readers, give it a try (if you have Google Voice) and leave a comment with your experience, and if you don’t have GV, let me know if you use something else to record and/or transcribe notes to yourself on the go.
Evidently buying a plane ticket for Thanksgiving and then signing up for Google AdWords (to use a free credit) within 3 days of each other is frowned upon by Capital One. At least I used Skype to call their 800 number and saved myself 20 minutes on our cell phone plan (more time for my wife to talk on the phone). And they give good rewards, so I can’t complain too much.
What scares me a little bit, though, is that they didn’t have a phone number on file for me. Yes, I did just change it recently to my Google Voice number since we’ve decided to cancel our landline, but I got a confirmation email that it had been changed, so it’s worrisome that it wasn’t showing up.
What scares me more is that though they didn’t have a number on file, someone who was “from the Capital One Fraud Department” called my Google Voice number and left a message with a different 800 number to call. I checked that number on 800notes.com (cool site, btw), and it seemed to be split about whether it was a scam or a real number. I called a number from Capital One’s website and got through to their Fraud Department, verified charges, and got back access to my card, but I am still wondering if that person who called my GV number was really from Capital One or if The Scammers have figured out a way to know when your account has been held up for fraud and use that as an “in” to get you to give them all your information.
It’s not frightening to me on a personal level because, as you can see from my story, I am not about to call someone back who says they’re from a credit card company (or bank or any other financial institution) without checking the number and going to the company’s web site first. But I am scared for all the people who are more trusting (and/or worried about their credit and credit card fraud) and will call that number back without hesitation.
Gina “Lifehacker” Trapani wrote a post about Google Voice on SmarterWare in which she says:
Now that Google Voice supports SMS, you can send and receive text messages from your GV number as well, which is the last piece I needed to finally tell all my friends and family, “Here’s my new phone number.”
She’s been using GrandCentral since it came out, and only decided to switch completely with the addition of SMS. I’m pretty sure that when I get my iPhone (cross your fingers – any day now) I’ll just tell all my friends to send their text messages to my email address. Of course, then I’ll have to make sure to keep it less than 140 characters when I write them back, but at least I won’t have to give AT&T my wife’s arm and leg to pay for a text messaging plan.
or: All Your Inbox Are Belong To Us
So, there’s a thing called Google Voice (via TechCrunch). And to quote TechCrunch:
Google also says that full integration with Gmail is coming, but won’t say when. Personally, having all my email, SMS and transcribed voicemails in a single inbox could be life-changing.
Yes indeed. Of course, this post has been skulking around in the background for almost a week, and so I’ve developed a counter-point as well, but let’s start with the positive.
Google Voice is a Google Product, so it has a pretty good chance of being awesome. Being a Google Product, it also has a pretty good chance of sucking, and pretty much no chance of being in between. But since TechCrunch says it’s Very Very Good, then I think the chances of being awesome are pretty good.
As someone who does not have a “smartphone” I would like a phone number that could direct my calls to my home number if I didn’t really want to deal with them, and deliver them to my cell phone if they were important. Of course, since it usually takes 24 hours or more for me to remember to set my cell phone back to Loud after I have to put it on Silent (like for a movie), the announcement of voicemails and SMS in my Gmail seems like a brilliant idea. I also like the idea of getting transcriptions of my voicemails and perhaps even moreso, the ability to save my text messages forever. Storing them in a place where I keep emails that I want to save forever is like getting fouled on a monster dunk.
Of course, if it could also tell me if a SMS message went to anyone else (like, say, and email does), then I would be 100% happy (as opposed to, you know, 99.999%), like getting fouled on a dunk from the three-point line, NBA Jam-style.
I already saw that at least one of my Facebook friends has upgraded from GrandCentral to Google Voice. Lucky b-tard. I don’t even remember hearing of GrandCentral before, but I wish I was part of the in crowd now. If you’re like me, you can find a link here that will give you a form to sign up to be notified when Google Voice is available to everyone.
Here’s the official Google Blog post which doesn’t have much besides a link to the Google Voice About Page. The About Page has a video for every feature (I believe) in the product, though, so that’s pretty awesome.