While I received an invitation to Google Voice several months ago, and I set up the account to automatically record a voicemail for incoming calls, I haven’t advertised my new phone number since I didn’t see much use for the program.
It wasn’t until today when Google announced the ability to have transcribed voicemails sent to your preferred inbox that I was willing to do some more testing of Google Voice.
Unified Messaging – Transcribed Voicemails
You heard correctly. Google Voice will take a voicemail and then convert the audio message to text. Here is how an incoming voicemail looks once it hits your Google Voice inbox:
After several minutes (depending upon the length and complexity of the voicemail) the message will be transcribed to text:
And now with the new feature, the text transcription appears in my e-mail inbox:
Test Case: Cemetery Headstone Transcription
One use for this service could be to dictate headstone transcriptions into your cell phone while performing a cemetery survey. Unfortunately, as you will see, I don’t believe that the transcription capabilities of Google Voice are up to snuff.
I made three different attempts at dictating the headstone details in a voicemail at my Google Voice account. The text which I read out loud is as follows:
“This is a cemetery transcription. New Paltz, New York, July 14, 2008. MacEntee. M C E N T E E. Elmer A. Eighteen eighty two dash nineteen forty eight. Margaret M. DeGroodt. D E G R O O D T. Eighteen eighty three dash.“
What I received via email is pretty much undecipherable:
“This is cemetery transcription, newport’s still you work. July 14th, 2008. Had stone. Nick and TNC E N T E. Elmer a 18 82, dash 1948. Margaret them to group the G. E. R. Or will be. T his wife, Birth Date, 18 83.“
Poor Transcription Results
I made two more attempts, adjusting my microphone volume (this was done with a Logitech headset and my Skype account on my computer) and speaking out numbers as one eight eight eight instead of eighteen eighty eight. But the results still were not what I expected or usable:
“This is a cemetery had stone transcription New Hall. We’re all cemetery, New, Paul new you work. July 14 to 1,000 state. Hey, it’s Joan name next. N. T. Elmer a 8882 dash 1940 8 18 Margaret am the group.“
“Hey stone. macKenzie and to see E and to be. E. E. Ohh, hi hey 188 to dash 19488.“
As much as I hate writing down headstone details while performing a cemetery survey, relying on Google Voice transcription might not be the best route. I can’t see using up my cell phone minutes in this manner unless I had many headstones to transcribe and I was willing to work with the audio voicemail once it arrived in my mailbox.
Hopefully over the next few months the unified messaging technology will improve at Google Voice.
© 2009, copyright Thomas MacEntee