Google Voice Transcription

I miss the free service of Jott. I appreciated the ability provided by Jott to call a number and quickly leave myself a message, which was transcribed and sent on to my email address. Using Jott, I could record flashes of brilliance (if I do say so myself) whenever they hit me, knowing that they’d be waiting whenever I checked email. Also, if the transcription wasn’t very good, the original audio recording was available to listen to.

Google Voice provides a great, free solution that enables me to leave Jott-like messages for myself, receive an SMS with the transcription, and receive the transcription via email. And the original audio is available if I need it.

All it takes is a little bit of configuration.

I didn’t want all my destination phones (work, home, etc) ringing when I called myself to leave a Jott-like message (I frequently leave myself messages for transcription on my way to the office, when my wife is still sleeping at home). So, here’s what I did:

  • In Google Voice:
    • Settings->Phones->Edit Cell Phone->Show Advanced Settings
      • Voicemail access: No
      • (click "Save")
    •  
    • Settings->Voicemail & SMS
      • Voicemail Greeting: Record New & called it "Jott". Said something like "Leave a message for transcription".
    • Contacts->(my personal contact record – the one with my cell number associated)->Edit->Edit Google Voice Settings
      • When this contact calls you:
        • Select "Ring my" and UNCHECK all the sub-options
        • "When this contact goes to voicemail", play the "Jott" recording created above
        • (click "Save")
  • In Outlook:
    • Tools->Rules and Alerts…->New Rule
      • From People or Distribution list (select voice-noreply@google.com)
      • Assign it to the Personal category
      • Mark it as High Importance
      • Show a Desktop Alert

This way, I can call my Google Voice number from my cell phone to leave myself a Jott-like message (which is transcribed and emailed to me!) without disturbing my wife at home or ringing my office phone. The Outlook side of things makes sure I am notified of the transcription.

Please let me know of any questions.


54 thoughts on “Google Voice Transcription”

  1. I loved Jott and did the same thing … almost.

    I have a Droid and set up my Verizon voicemail to go to Google Voice. Android phones have a nice, free Google Voice app that you can use so you don’t need to forward to email.

    That said, SMS messages show up quicker, and you don’t need 3G to get them.

    (Sent from my Droid ;-)

  2. I loved Jott and did the same thing … almost.

    I have a Droid and set up my Verizon voicemail to go to Google Voice. Android phones have a nice, free Google Voice app that you can use so you don’t need to forward to email.

    That said, SMS messages show up quicker, and you don’t need 3G to get them.

    (Sent from my Droid ;-)

  3. I like this idea a lot, but from what I gather this means I’ll have no way of accessing my other voicemails in audio form from my non-smart cellphone I use.

    Or did I miss something?

  4. I like this idea a lot, but from what I gather this means I’ll have no way of accessing my other voicemails in audio form from my non-smart cellphone I use.

    Or did I miss something?

  5. I used Jott but now use Dial2Do. It does the reminder function, can plug events into Google calendar, can send a text message to yourself or any contacts you set up, etc. But I like the way you think, and will be saving this for the inevitable day when Dial2Do starts charging for their service. Thanks!

  6. I used Jott but now use Dial2Do. It does the reminder function, can plug events into Google calendar, can send a text message to yourself or any contacts you set up, etc. But I like the way you think, and will be saving this for the inevitable day when Dial2Do starts charging for their service. Thanks!

  7. You’ll still be able to access your voicemail on your phone. Just press “*” then your PIN (you did set up a pin in Google Voice, didn’t you?) and you’re in your voicemail. Please let me know if that doesn’t work for you.

  8. You’ll still be able to access your voicemail on your phone. Just press “*” then your PIN (you did set up a pin in Google Voice, didn’t you?) and you’re in your voicemail. Please let me know if that doesn’t work for you.

  9. Thanks for your message, Harry. I loved Jott before it went payware. The solution in my article doesn’t have a time limit like Dial2Do and I like receiving transcriptions (even the crappy ones — they’re entertaining!) and SMS messages via this method. During my quick glance at Dial2Do, it seems they’ve already gone pay…

  10. Thanks for your message, Harry. I loved Jott before it went payware. The solution in my article doesn’t have a time limit like Dial2Do and I like receiving transcriptions (even the crappy ones — they’re entertaining!) and SMS messages via this method. During my quick glance at Dial2Do, it seems they’ve already gone pay…

  11. Yes, that time limit is a bit restrictive. It’s like twitter, for your voice. But the “pricing” issue is interesting. Early adopters like me still have all of the “Pro” features for free. It might end this year.

  12. Yes, that time limit is a bit restrictive. It’s like twitter, for your voice. But the “pricing” issue is interesting. Early adopters like me still have all of the “Pro” features for free. It might end this year.

  13. With this setup does your voicemail ring and ring, and ring some more, and then you get to save the message, or does it direct you to your voicemail as soon as you call the number?

  14. With this setup does your voicemail ring and ring, and ring some more, and then you get to save the message, or does it direct you to your voicemail as soon as you call the number?

  15. Jules, when I click the contact for Google Voicemail from my cell phone, it rings once then plays my outgoing announcement and allows me to record. It’s really quick!

  16. Jules, when I click the contact for Google Voicemail from my cell phone, it rings once then plays my outgoing announcement and allows me to record. It’s really quick!

  17. Side note: It is vital that you use “Ring my:” instead of “Send to Voicemail” as depicted in the 3rd image. If you have “Send to Voicemail” selected, then you will hear multiple rings before you can leave a message. Also, if you enable “Do Not Disturb”, your voice mail will ring multiple times instead of just once as “Do Not Disturb” overrides all other voicemail functionality.

  18. Side note: It is vital that you use “Ring my:” instead of “Send to Voicemail” as depicted in the 3rd image. If you have “Send to Voicemail” selected, then you will hear multiple rings before you can leave a message. Also, if you enable “Do Not Disturb”, your voice mail will ring multiple times instead of just once as “Do Not Disturb” overrides all other voicemail functionality.

  19. For those who have an iPhone. There is a much simpler solution that is 100% free.

    Siri

    Siri is a virtual assistant that can do many things. I won’t give it justice, so please visit the site and see a video demonstration.

    One of Siri’s abilities is to leave a reminder by voice. It transcribes it on the fly and automatically emails it to the email you setup in the Siri account.

    I send mine to Gmail. In Gmail I use my filters to add incoming Siri emails with a tag called “Todo”.

    Accomplishes the same thing but free. Not to mention all the other amazing things this app will do for you.

    Total setup time = 5 minutes.

  20. For those who have an iPhone. There is a much simpler solution that is 100% free.

    Siri

    Siri is a virtual assistant that can do many things. I won’t give it justice, so please visit the site and see a video demonstration.

    One of Siri’s abilities is to leave a reminder by voice. It transcribes it on the fly and automatically emails it to the email you setup in the Siri account.

    I send mine to Gmail. In Gmail I use my filters to add incoming Siri emails with a tag called “Todo”.

    Accomplishes the same thing but free. Not to mention all the other amazing things this app will do for you.

    Total setup time = 5 minutes.

  21. I just forked over the money for Jott. I’ve had pretty bad results with Google Voice’s transcriptions.

  22. I just forked over the money for Jott. I’ve had pretty bad results with Google Voice’s transcriptions.

  23. I think Jott wanted $9.95/month for just 40 voice mail messages. That is really only 1 voicemail message each day for a month. I tried Dial2Do which was free and the trascription was really good (better than Google voices actually). But from the time you dial the number to the point where you get to leave a message, I found GV to be a bit faster.

  24. I think Jott wanted $9.95/month for just 40 voice mail messages. That is really only 1 voicemail message each day for a month. I tried Dial2Do which was free and the trascription was really good (better than Google voices actually). But from the time you dial the number to the point where you get to leave a message, I found GV to be a bit faster.

  25. Yes, Google Voice’s transcription is a bit … terrible. However, I don’t mind because a> even the BAD transcription is generally enough to jog my memory, b> I’ve got the audio to refer to if the transcription doesn’t do it for me, and c> the dreadful transcription is actually kind of funny, so that brightens my day a bit. And, hey, it’s free.

  26. Yes, Google Voice’s transcription is a bit … terrible. However, I don’t mind because a> even the BAD transcription is generally enough to jog my memory, b> I’ve got the audio to refer to if the transcription doesn’t do it for me, and c> the dreadful transcription is actually kind of funny, so that brightens my day a bit. And, hey, it’s free.

  27. Hi Drew, This is awesome and the trick that I have been looking for. My question is if every person who calls and leaves a voicemail (that is then transcribed through google voice) added as a task in outlook or is it only for your number? I have a google voice number and all of my contacts call that number, I am just trying to not have 15 new random calendar entries everyday. Let me know.

  28. Hi Drew, This is awesome and the trick that I have been looking for. My question is if every person who calls and leaves a voicemail (that is then transcribed through google voice) added as a task in outlook or is it only for your number? I have a google voice number and all of my contacts call that number, I am just trying to not have 15 new random calendar entries everyday. Let me know.

  29. Thanks for your message, Bryce. The method I describe doesn’t add voicemails as tasks… It just flashes a Desktop Alert. So, if you follow my method, you won’t have the random calendar entries at all! Please let me know how it works for you, or of any questions.

  30. Thanks for your message, Bryce. The method I describe doesn’t add voicemails as tasks… It just flashes a Desktop Alert. So, if you follow my method, you won’t have the random calendar entries at all! Please let me know how it works for you, or of any questions.

  31. I think you could also set your outlook (or Gmail?) rule/filter to include who the voicemail is from since it’s included in the body of the transcription. This way, only emails from the Google voice address AND with your number in them will be added as tasks (if you wanted to do that) instead of all of your voice mails.

  32. I think you could also set your outlook (or Gmail?) rule/filter to include who the voicemail is from since it’s included in the body of the transcription. This way, only emails from the Google voice address AND with your number in them will be added as tasks (if you wanted to do that) instead of all of your voice mails.

  33. Google Voice’s transcription service seems to learn the voice of each phone number over time. Once you’ve trained it on that one phone number, it’s not that bad. Not perfect, but not bad.

    Also you might want to have a separate Google Voice account just for these voice memos and notes to make the transcription easier. Then have it on speed dial and in that other account set your cell’s number set to go straight to voicemail (eg go to contacts => your name => Edit Google Voice Settings => change “Ring Default phones” to “Send to voicemail”.

  34. Google Voice’s transcription service seems to learn the voice of each phone number over time. Once you’ve trained it on that one phone number, it’s not that bad. Not perfect, but not bad.

    Also you might want to have a separate Google Voice account just for these voice memos and notes to make the transcription easier. Then have it on speed dial and in that other account set your cell’s number set to go straight to voicemail (eg go to contacts => your name => Edit Google Voice Settings => change “Ring Default phones” to “Send to voicemail”.

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