After Gmail, Google wants to search your voice mail too

Google has begun testing a service that will make transcripts of voice mail messages and make them searchable.

Google Voice will be telephony as a hosted service

Google Voice will be telephony as a hosted service

Google has begun testing a service that will make transcripts of voice-mail messages and make them searchable.

For now, Google will only offer voice-mail transcription to existing customers of GrandCentral Communications, a telecommunications service provider that it bought in July 2007, it said in a posting on the Official Google Blog.

GrandCentral offers customers a single number through which they can forward calls to their work, home or mobile phone, filter calls before answering them, record conversations and access an archive of recordings and voice mail via the Web. Just like Google's promise that with its Gmail e-mail service, you'll never need to delete another message, GrandCentral promises to archive voicemail "for life."

Google isn't saying yet whether it will make and store transcripts of recorded conversations in addition to voice-mail messages.

GrandCentral stopped accepting new customers after Google bought it and even now, rebranded as Google Voice, the service is still closed to new business. Since its acquisition, GrandCentral has invited prospective customers to leave their e-mail address to reserve a number, and Google said it will begin responding to those requests "in a matter of weeks."

Google claims its service is the only fully automated voice-mail transcription service on the market. The transcriptions may include mistakes, and Google will make accuracy improvements over time, it said.

In contrast, other automated transcription services already on the market rely on a small amount of human intervention to improve transcription accuracy and teach the software new words on the fly.

Last week Skype began transcribing its customers' voice mail messages into SMS (Short Message Service) text messages using technology from U.K. company Spinvox. If the Spinvox software is unsure about a word, it plays that part of the recording to a person who confirms or corrects the transcription.

Spinvox began launching services in the U.K. in 2005 and now powers the voice-mail transcription services offered by North American carriers including Alltel, Cincinnati Bell, Rogers and Telus. Telus will send transcripts to its subscribers via SMS or e-mail.

Another software company, Nuance Communications, announced a competing offering last April. It hasn't named any customers yet, but operators in France and Spain are deploying its voice mail-to-text service, a company spokesman said last month.

Skype makes its transcription service pay for itself by charging for the SMS messages, but Google hasn't said how it will make money from its transcriptions, which like other GrandCentral services are free.

One obvious revenue source for Google would be targeting advertising: when a friend leaves a message suggesting you meet for dinner, the transcript might be displayed alongside an advertisement for a local restaurant. Google might also use the transcripts to improve the profiles of its users' interests that it is building in order to deliver interest-based or behavioural advertising, a move it announced on Wednesday.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Googlevoicemailgrandcentral

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Peter Sayer

Peter Sayer

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?