Are you like me- do you HATE the idea of having your home phone number online for everyone to have access to, but you understand some of your clients might prefer to communicate via phone. They hire YOU to be their internet person because they don’t enjoy it. So like it or not, sometimes we need to use the phone.
Google bought out a company called Grand Central and now it’s called Google Voice, and it provides FREE PHONE NUMBERS. you can have your number forwarded to your phone, or have all calls directed to email. That’s right, they TRANSCRIBE the voicemail messages to your email account. the first thing I thought of was “OMG- I can call myself and talk to myself and it will send me a copy-and-pastable version of my words. For a writer who runs her mouth a lot, that is so exciting.
Another cool thing is that you choose your phone number. It can be from a different city or state AND it can spell something. I couldn’t find any numbers with the word “badass” embedded in them, so I went with “Lisa” which meant I was presented with a bunch of combinations of ###-Lisa and #Li-sa## and ##L-isa# And they were in all different area code.
Hmmm… do I want a Chicago number, a Lubbock, TX number, a California number? I went with New York City, it was a tough decision.
In the end, I used Phonespell.org to see if the remaining (non Lisa) numbers spelled anything. I had copied all the options google gave me into a txt file and just started pasting them into phonespell to see if anything looked good. I was almost OK-Racy-Lisa and I was almost going to be oh-news-Lisa, which might have worked well if I was pursuing journalism, but in the end, I settled on Ninety-Lisa because it’s simple and the area code is in New York and New York is cool. So it’s (646) 389-5472 in case you wondered.
It was easy to forward the number to my cell phone and to access the voice mail system. I didn’t want the calls to ACTUALLY get routed to my cell phone because I wanted to try the transcription thing first. In order to do that, I called my voicemail (which was easy- I used my cell phone to dial my own number, entered my PIN and pressed 4 to change the settings, which I set to ‘do not disturb’) I could also have accessed the setting through my inbox, but I didn’t know it at the time.
Then, I had my sister call my new phone number and leave me a message. Apparently their transcription program leaves a lot to be desired. I forgot she was a pirate. They totally suck at translating pirate language. The message I got said
“Give me a pec things you’ve seen a mac to find my apparently, and which is ok. Bentley you might be sure to shoot it. Hi Hi.
But what she really said was
” Argh matey, me thinks you be needin’ a map to find my pirate booty. Once you locate the booty, ye must be sure to shake it.”
That was useless, except for the unintentional abdominal workout we had while trying to discuss the situation.
So I called my blogging friend Astacia, also known as Mamikaze. She runs Expand Social Media. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to leave me a message because she was recovering from surgery and a little bit drugged up and her OWN google phone wasn’t recognizing her voice, so I posted a note out on Facebook to solicit voicemail messages. Then I waited… for just a few minutes when my new friend Carolyn called. The transcription looks good, it says
I imagine that the “And in” is supposed to be “I’m in”, but the message makes sense. That’s what matters. Maybe the “Carol And in” was supposed to be “Carolyn in”
Oh no- here’s another message. John from Yakima Networking says… OK, it’s only slightly legible. he was probably outside, pacing back & forth with a cigarette… And here’s another from Ruth in Canada, which was perfect. Google thought Susan Critelli was “Susan For Tell” and…wow.. another…I need to remove the Facebook thing… they’re still coming in… Angela, Kathy… it takes a few minutes for the transcription to work…
And it’s sending me the transcribed message as an incoming txt, too. I wonder if I can turn that off? They have a video tutorial (I hate watching videos, I’d rather read it, fyi). I’m sure I’ll figure it out.
Anyway- So get your custom, personal free phone number from Google and be glad I just saved you 2 hours of playing around with the voice mail. And have a nice day.
EDITED- to say that this is so cool, I just figured out I can listen to the messages from right in my inbox and stopping the text messages was so easy. This is so much fun. Thanks, John. It was his hot tip, by the way.
EDITED AGAIN- to say that you can actually download the audio files, or embed them like this (luv ya, sister 🙂