Finally got around to activating my Google Voice invite, ready to see what all the fuss was about. I entered my information and completed Google’s super secure computer to phone setup process– pretty cool that my computer screen changed the instant I entered a code on my phone. Looking around the different features with a friend, we discovered that Google Voice would transcribe voice mails and send them to you as a text– this was clearly a feature begging to be tested. So said friend did his best impression of a drunk dial.
The first box shows the poor performance of the Google Voice transcription service (click on the image to see a larger version). The second box plays the actual voice mail he left me. As you can see, we checked the “X” in the lower right corner to indicate that the transcript was NOT useful.
Right now, Google Voice’s main functions are call-forwarding and voice mail. But how many phone lines do each of us have? One, our cell phones, and we can access voice mail with at most two buttons. Our primary use of phones is for texting and calling, so Google Voice for college students? Not terribly useful.
Possible flaws with college-age users aside, Google Voice may soon become infinitely cooler for all audiences as a result of Google’s acquisition of Gizmo5. As reported in TechCrunch by TechCrunch founder and 1992 CMC alum Michael Arrington, the acquisition could mean that Google Voice would look something more like Skype or Google Talk, adding the all-important calling function.