Friday, August 21, 2009

Recording your own notes with Google Voice

I found a way a while ago to use Google Voice to record a personal note, transcribe it, and email it to me. A recent Lifehacker post "Five Things We'd Like to See in Google Voice" lists that need as their #5 request, so I realized what I'd figured out is not common knowledge.

  1. In GV's Contacts, create a Group "Special Transcription"

  2. To avoid listening to my standard voice mail when I call, I recorded a short voice mail greeting for this group simply saying "Record note now"

  3. I added a contact with my own cell phone number as the only number, and made it the sole member of this group.

  4. In GV's phone settings, I edited the settings for my cell phone. In the section "Direct access to voicemail when calling your Google number from this phone?" I set it to No.
    Updated: You have to click "Show Advanced Settings" link to see "Direct Access to Voice Mail" - Thanks @corgimas and @Daniel.
    Update #2: Some people report not seeing this.  I created a screenshot of where mine is.


Now I just called my own Google Voice number from my cell phone and it answers, says "Record Note Now" and beeps. I record my note and hangup. Google Voice transcribes the message, and from the settings I previously set in my Google Voice, emails me the note. And with the filters I setup in GMail, the transcription is forwarded to Evernote for me. I described how to do that in a previous blog post.

This is really handy while you drive. I previously had Jott for this, but when they switched to a paid model, I couldn't justify even their minor monthly cost for this. If I commuted by car daily, I'd probably re-think that and be able to justify their cost.

60 comments:

  1. I saw this on Twitter and I set it up. Works pretty well! I love the idea of having the recordings in my own account instead of on Jott's servers. The first annoyance I found with this is the wait for voice mail to answer the call after all of the rings.

    Since Jott started charging I've been using Dial2Do -- their free service answers the call right away. http://dial2do.com

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  2. hi mark: question...i wanted to set this up and followed your notes...but when i call the phone number from my cell i get taken into the menu of listening to my messages.....any advice???
    thanks much!
    rob

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  3. Make sure in Google Voice Settings, General Tab, Notifications, you also have it set to Email you.

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  4. is it a problem if i only have one phone number saved as my google voice phone number?
    it seems like GV is seeing my phone call as "i want to check my messages" not as an incoming phone call....
    thanks
    r

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  5. @corgimas Did you do Step #4? That's all I can tink of.

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  6. Good idea. Correct me if I'm wrong, but won't this prevent you from being able to check your voicemail from your phone without the app?

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  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  8. that the rub: i do not get the "answering message" i am just taken into the service menu to check messages....

    Mark-all of my settings are exactly yours (well at least i thin so...gotta be something somewhere"
    r

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  9. @corgimas Maybe I missed something in my description. Let's see if anyone reports success based on these directions. I did this first months ago, and went back and checked my settings when I wrote this up last week.

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  10. FOUND IT! dang..... http://www.google.com/support/voice/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=115113

    in the advanced settings under my phone number i had it set to automatically connect to the voicemail system...all is good now though!!!! thanks much for a great workaround Mark!!!!
    (this is my voice recorder for my balckberry!)

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  11. It worked for me. You have to go into settings - phones - your mobile phone - and click on "show advanced settings" to turn off the "direct access to voicemail" feature.

    I suspect that's the issue. B/c the first time I tried it, I got voice mail, after I found the hidden setting, I got the "record note now" message and it worked perfectly.

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  12. @Daniel and @corgimas : thanks. Yes. That is Step #4. I'll rewrite it to make it clearer.

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  13. Tip -- make sure your personal mobile # is not listed under another contact name as well. That tripped things up for me until I figured it out.

    Great trick -- thanks, Mark!

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  14. Thank you so much. I set it up for myself and my dad today. It works wonderfully... and I am learning to speak clearer so it can be transcribed accurately. Of note: My notes to myself get labeled with my to-do label in gmail. Helps me see what I need to get done.

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  15. This is cool, but I can do this for free with http://www.dial2do.com

    Works well for me.

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  16. Thanks saw the post on Lifehacker. I have been wondering for a while how to use GV as a Jott or Requal replacement. Simplifies things. Thanks for the great hack.

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  17. Thanks Mark,

    I was looking for a simeple hack for GV transcipts. I've tried ReQall, dial2go, jott and others but its nice to have tighter solution to voicemails/notes and transcripts.

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  18. Anyone encounter the "Transcript not available" message? After letting it attempt to transcribe a personal note, I guess it failed or something like that:

    http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/voice/thread?tid=4c6c5acdbf0a78a4&hl=en

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  19. Great tip. Additional thing I did ... Under the contact settings, set the contact to go direct to voice mail so it does not ring any other phones.

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  20. Has anyone been cut-off leaving a message to transcribe? I am thinking about more than a to-do list. If someone was working on a manuscript and wanted GV to transcribe a chapter for them, is there a time limit per message?

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  21. Just wondering the same thing. I haven't come across a cut-off yet but would love to find out if someone else has!

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  22. A week ago, at the 3 minute mark, there was a terse message that said something then said goodbye. That message has gone away and you can continue leaving a message, although I tried leaving a 40 minute message with gibberish and it never showed up in Google Voice, which was weird. I still haven't tried leaving a message marginally more than 3 minutes.

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  23. Super! I love this and just got it setup!

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  24. This is an excellent hack.....thanks so much!!!

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  25. Mark, go to the store, buy yourself a large hat that says Genius on it, and wear that bad boy around proudly. This was such an innovative idea that Google and Evernote should be buying ad space and listening to you very closely. However, Jott might want to take a hit out on you because I'm sitting here trying to figure out why I still need to pay every month for the service. Jott feeds? Hmmm...maybe not. The more Google Voice gets transcriptions sent to them, I imagine the better it will be.

    Thank you for the post. Helps me out a lot when I'm on the go.

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  26. Of course, you can't make the outbound call using Google Voice. I'm I the only one who uses Google Voice for outbound as well as inbound?

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  27. Chad, you can still make outgoing calls if you set it up this way. I do.

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  28. When I make an outbound call using my GV number, it goes to the voice mail prompt. When I call from my cell number, it works. Can you think of something I did wrong that would cause this? I set it up as stated.

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  29. Chad--I never make outgoing calls by calling my own GV number, so I had to research this.

    You can your GV #, and when the answering announcement coming on, press the * key. You are then prompted for your PIN. Then after hearing you have no messages, you are told you can press 2 to place a call.

    I just tried it, and that worked for me.

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  30. I am using an Android device with the Google Voice application set to use GV for all calls. I suspect because the outbound call's CID is my GV number, I always encounter menus. Anyone else experience this?

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  31. Anyone know of a way to forward e-mails with an audio attachment to a service for transcription? how does Google voice transcription compare to these services?

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  32. Awesome, can't wait to try this out! Thanks

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  33. Well, after a couple hours I've decided this isn't going to work for me. It only works for me half the time. Half the time it says "Chris Beaman" (my name) and the other half it says "Record Now." Google Voice isn't correctly assigning the right voicemail to the right contact consistently enough. I guess I'll have to try Reqall, Jott or Dial2whatever.

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  34. This is a great option if you don't want to sign up for another web service. A small thing that I did to eliminate having to give up the straight to voicemail option was that I set up two contacts on my phone (the physical one): one that would just dial my GV number and I would hear the greeting, and the other which was my GV number, a couple of pauses, a star, then my passcode (e.g. 1234567890PP*1234).

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  35. If you're not using a google number, then call your own number (your carrier assigned cell phone number) rather than your google voicemail number once you've set things up. Otherwise --for me at least-- it sent me to the voicemail menu no matter what I did.

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  36. where is this link for "show advanced phone settings" within the current version of google voice. i am unable to find the options setting for "direct access to voicemail". any help is most appreciated

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  37. @anonymous : Under Settings, Phones click Edit under your Cell phone, then "Show Advanced Settings". See the first Section "Voice Mail Access"

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  38. I am using VoiceCentral Black Swan and set this up as per the instructions above but whenever I call my google voice number from the VoiceCentral application it just rings and rings and rings...never goes to voice mail at all...

    Any thoughts as to why this is happening...???

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  39. Mark-
    why can I not locate the advanced settings?

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  40. @anonymous: Click Settings>Voice Settings>

    Under the phone you want to change, click the Edit button.

    "Show Advanced Settings" is a link you can click that appears then.

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  41. www.reqall.com will also transcribe and send messages to your email.It's free and uses a toll free number.

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  42. Hey all, sorry I'm reposting, the other thread seemed to die a while back.

    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.

    thanks

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  43. August 20, 2010 5:36 PM

    "Show Advanced Settings" nowhere to be found.

    Mark said...

    "Click Settings>Voice Settings>
    Under the phone you want to change, click the Edit button.
    'Show Advanced Settings' is a link you can click that appears then."

    There is no advanced settings options for me when I click through the "edit" button. I've looked three times over a week and it's just not there. Where should it appear in screen (if the comp. screen were a clock face)?

    This is a great idea and I really would like to get it to work. Thanks a lot.

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  44. @anonymous : It should be right under "Receive Text Messages on this phone).

    I can't show a screen shot in comments, so I created a blog post with a screen shot for you.

    http://markstout.blogspot.com/2010/10/some-people-trying-to-follow.html

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  45. Mark, great idea, thanks for sharing this with us. One suggestion though; I found that I did not need to create a group with my cell phone number as the member. I just made the changes directly to my cell phone in GV and it works exactly like you explain in your instructions. I'm curious, why do you recommend creating the group?

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  46. @Roger I don't recall now. Thanks for tip.

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  47. Seems overly convoluted. I simply setup a speeddial # to call my carrier-assigned phone #. It goes right into Google VM then texts me the transcription. QED.

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  48. I just love Google and their Lab products. I personally tried this service and it worked 100% for me and found it very useful.

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  49. Great feature! Thanks for sharing this in you blog. Every development by Google is right on the target.

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  50. What about getting that transcription automatically added to your google calendar like Jott used to do?

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  51. Unfortunately, I don't know a way to do this other than Jott. Used it myself when they were free.

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  52. With the new Sprint integration with Google Voice it doesn't work anymore. All calls from my cell go directly to voicemail messages.

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  53. I'm dubious about using the Sprint/GV integration. I keep my cell phone # a secret, and handout my GV#. That way if I lose/break my cell phone, i can switch the phone calls to my GV# are forwarded to.

    Besides, I tend to use Android voice input now on my Android phone more than I use this hack. It was more valuable before I had a cell phone.

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    Replies
    1. I use the Android voice actions as well, specifically the "Note to self" action that allows you to just say "Note to Self" + [Your spoken note], which will email you the transcribed note that you can set an auto label for in order to find easily.

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  54. Thanks a ton! My commute is now productive.

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  55. Also not working for me with Sprint/GV integration :( If anyone figures out a workaround please share!

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  56. Still using this useful trick -- thank you!

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  57. Hello my friend! I want to say that this post is amazing, great written and include almost all vital info's. I would like to look more posts like this .

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