Sunday, March 9, 2008

Getting voicemail delivered to your email account

I used to rarely check my voicemail. I'd wait until a convenient time on the weekend and then delete 4 or 5 voicemails I'd accumulated during the week, mostly from my girlfriend or my mom. Usually if I see a missed call and a voicemail, I'll just call that missed caller right back because its easier than checking voicemail and calling them anyways. If someone wanted to just leave me a message I didn't have to respond to, I'd expect it to come as a text message. And of course if I saw a missed call & voicemail that was work related, I'd listen to it, but I don't get those particularly often.

But I am very religous with checking emails... so I thought it would be great to get my voicemails as email messages that I could listen to in my browser (ff of course...).

So after an afternoon of wrestling with the pieces, heres how you do that:

  1. Sign up for grandcentral @ It was recently bought out by google, but it does not integrate with your existing google account. Try to get a number in your area code or one close by. I did this a couple of months before setting up my voicemail system, and was able to get a number.

  2. Use *71 to set up 'No Answer/Busy Transfer' on your current cellphone to forward to your grandcentral number. My cell is verizon, so this works very easily for me, and I'm sure other carriers provide something similar. This service is free (it is on my plan and as far as I know I never opted in) and it will try to ring your cellphone 3-6 times, and if you don't pick up will forward your call (regular call forwarding will forward your call without trying to ring you). After you don't pick up, the call is transfered to grandcentral were it will use your grandcentral rules to decide how to route the call.

  3. In my case, I turn 'quickrules' off so that grandcentral does not try to route my calls. In that case, it will go straight to grandcentral voicemail.

  4. Set your grandcentral notifications to email you at your primary email address, and you can optionally choose to be alerted by text message. I like to turn on the latter because it tells you detailed info about your voicemail (who, when, how long the message was).

  5. Profit?

  6. You should probably customize your grandcentral voicemail greeting too so people know to leave you a message. Or you can totally mess with them because you can have different greetings that get played to different people, but all strangers will still get your professional greeting.

I like this system because I check my voicemails much more frequently now (its fun). The messages go to your email with a play button that links to grandcentral (with a url you can access w/o being logged into so you can forward to your heart's content).

GrandCentral has a lot of other cool features too that you can exploit now that you have an easy way to make use of it. Enjoy!

- Dave

1 comment:

supermike said...

Okay, so grandcentral collects the vmail, sends it to email, and then I can pick it up at gmail. Well, you might not know this unless you're a Linux fan, but there's an API to open one's gmail. Some people have exploited it to make a file system out of it, of all things. Anyway, the thought came by my mind that someone should allow me to download those voicemail messages out of my gmail, run voice recognition on them from a script on Linux, and then reupload them back to Google. A job could run on my server to do this, for instance. That way, the only thing I need to do is read the messages, not listen to them. And if I miss a call because someone left a voicemail that didn't convert, oh well -- I can head that off by letting people know they can also email me to get a faster, more reliable response.

So, I look for the day when this is possible and free. Looks like we're soooo close.