This is awesome: today a friend told me about a site called callwave.com. It captures your voicemail, converts it to text, saves the audio and text to a website, and sends you a text message transcription of the voicemail.
My friend Ej told me about this when he and I were talking with some friends about how we hated checking voicemail because it takes so long. This is a problem with audio in general–you can only sift through it at real time, as opposed to text which you can scan very quickly for pertinent information. Although it’s debatable whether writing is faster than use voice recognition to capture text (depending on how quickly you type), I think most people would agree that reading is faster than speaking or listening, especially since it is much easier fast-forward, skip, and skim while reading than while listening. I first realized this problem when I tried carrying a mini-tape recorder to capture ideas. The tape recorder is great for the capture phase, but for reviewing, it sucks.
While I could easily switch back to pen and paper for capturing my own thoughts, I never considered this option with voicemail. Callwave was the solution I didn’t know I was looking for. I especially like this idea because most voicemail I receive is junk anyway, so I would love to be able to quickly scan and trash it.
Callwave is pretty easy to setup. You just enter your phone number and email address on their website, call some weird sequence of number they show you when you login, reply to a text message, and record a greeting for your voicemail. I set it up in less then 5 minutes, had my sister leave me a voicemail, and I immediately got a text message transcription of the message she left.
You should definitely check this service out.
(NB: the website says “Free during beta,” so unfortunately I think they’ll start charging for this. In my opinion, Yahoo should snap this up to counter Google’s acquisition of Grand Central. There’s no reason I should have to check my voicemail, sms, and email in different places. I think Google is onto this already. It would be smart for someone else to bundle Callwave with their email service.)