Sunday, May 3, 2009

Evernote and Google Voice

I have figured out a way to call from my cell phone, and have a transcription of my verbal message centrally stored with my entire collection of documents and easily searchable by me. And it is all free using Evernote and Google Voice.

I initially setup my Evernote account in July of 2008, but didn't spend enough time with it to understand its value. I revisited it lately and learned the enormous power it has. I've integrated it into my life in a big way.

Evernote describes their service:

Evernote allows you to easily capture information in any environment using whatever device or platform you find most convenient, and makes this information accessible and searchable at any time, from anywhere.

Last night I finally figured out to force Google voice to send me to voice mail when I call my own GV number from my cell phone. I documented the process on the Google Voice Help Forum.

Remember, Google voice transcribes voice mails and sends the transcription to me. I can scan the written words and get a gist of the voice mail, learning enough to know when I want to return the call.

Google Voice can be set to email me the transcription or text it to me. I have it do both.

The text alerts me quicker to the existence of the voice mail.

I setup a filter in my Gmail account so that any transcription emails from GV are automatically forwarded to my Evernote acccount.

Think about that for a minute. All transcriptions of my voice mails and dictated notes from myself are now stored in one location and readily searchable by me from my desktop or via the web from my phone or anywhere I can connect to the web.

Of course, I can search the transcripts at the GV site too, but by sending them into Evernote, they become part of my overall collection with my other documents and notes. And in Evernote, I then have a backup copy of the transcripts should anything happen to them while they reside only on Google (unlikely I know).

Google Voice is still not widely available. Watch for its public release, and sign-up. It's mostly free (except for international calls).


  1. The reason I found your site is because I thought of the same idea. My only issue is that Google Voice doesn't do as well a job as I would like with transcribing voicemails. This kind of defeats the purpose, no?

  2. Indeed. I am hoping the trascription will get better.

  3. Just found your site so excuse the late response.

    Have you looked at using a service like Dial2Do or Jott to send transcribed text notes from yourself to your Evernote account? Just set up you Evernote phone number as a contact in Dial2Do. Their transcription (human assisted I think) is better than Google Voice's.

  4. Mark -- great post. One issue... gmail is forwarding the transcription as an image which makes it a lot harder to manipulate. Is there another setting/filter that would send to Evernote as text?


  5. I'm missing something here. I have GV sending a text message to my gmail account but I can not filter the email to go to Evernote. Can someone please walk me through those steps?

  6. I just figured out how to get text from GV into Evernote. Easy! I'm using Postbox to collect email from various sources. I just set up a filter to forward the GV text message to my Evernote email address. I now have an editable note in Evernote.

  7. Worth noting that GV is finicky as to the format of the phone number in the special Contact. I did not have parentheses around my area code so it would not recognize the number as matching the special Contact assigned to the special Group and would therefore treat it as a generic caller.

  8. I searched for a way to cut Dial2Do out of my "mix" of "automated brain dumping," and found your blog. Great stuff. I've now got my Google Voice taking my notes, sending them to GMail, forwarding them to Evernote -- and I can even LISTEN to the voicemail, to ensure that the transcription is good, right from Evernote!

    ONE thing I'm missing: the subject line of the message, in Gmail and, therefore the title of my evernote "task", is always going to be "New voicemail from..." Is there anyway to automatically rename this item with the first line or so of the transcribed text?

    Does that make sense?

  9. I've been doing this for a few months, and its worked really well for me. Although I never sent it to Evernote, I just use Gmail to store it all.

    The one thing that I've been trying to figure out is how to have Gmail automatically forward the transcribed message to Gcal and create an event.

    Jott used to do this by posting directly to Gcal, when Jott went to a pay for service I stopped using it and I've been determined to find another way. I KNOW there has to be a way to do it using this method, I feel like I'm missing something simple. I really don't want to go back to Jott or use another app to make this happen.

    Gcal used to have an email address that you could use to post directly to your calendar, but it no longer exists.

    I've played around with trying to forward the google voice transcribed voice note as a text message to the calendar, but that doesn't seem to work.

    If anyone has any ideas, I would love to hear them!

    Hope this actually made sense.


  10. @TJAllard : other than Jott, I don't know a way.

    By the way, you can text a calendar item to Google Calendar. Just see the mobile settings under settings in Gcal.