You've Got Voice Mail
For many people - myself included - there's something intriguing about automatically sending voice mail messages to my inbox and then clicking a mouse to listen, instead of going through the "Press 1 to do this," "Press 2 to do that" commands.
Voice mail is one of those things you don't really think twice about - it's just kind of there. But the folks at GotVoice, a Kirkland, Wash. company, are launching this week some innovative and creative features to enable you to do more with your home, cell or office voice mail. The company will automatically retrieve your messages, convert them to audio files and deliver them to your email inbox where you can save them, trash them or share them - as emails, of course.
But this is not just about retrieving messages; it's also about creating them. Voice messages can be recorded into the GotVoice system in several ways - you can use your phone or a computer-connected microphone or even the built-in text-to-speech software to record a message. From there, it can be delivered to someone's e-mail. It can also be sent directly to the person's voicemail without ringing their phone - a feature called silent delivery. And then there's the feature that little league coaches will love - simultaneous delivery to many people. When you get to the field on Saturday morning and find it too wet to play, delivering the "game is cancelled" message to all of the parents can be done with one recorded message.
A service called eVoice - from j2 Global Communications, the same folks behind eFax - offers something similar to GotVoice, except that it gives you a unique phone number. The idea there is that you can use your eVoice number when you place a classified ad or for your home based business - without having to give out your cell or home phone number. Like GotVoice, basic usage is free; premium services are available for a monthly fee.
It's a cool enough concept and I could see where a number of people would find it useful but I just can't find the value in it --- for me. I can use any phone to call into any of my three voice mail systems. And I realllllly don't need any more e-mail coming into my inbox. Managing two or three voice mails is one thing but seeing them get lost and buried in dozens of e-mails is another.
I'll probably keep using the free service for my cell phone voice-mail. It's free and the signal to my phone can sometimes be hit or miss. But if I ever have to pay, I'm sure that going back to "Press 1 for this" and "Press 2 for that" will be just fine.
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