I’ve wanted something like Callwave for a while now so when I read about it a couple of weeks ago on Lifehacker, I marked it as “keep new” in bloglines, planning to return to it… some time. Well, inspiration struck earlier this week.
Voicemail is a pain because
1. it’s not searchable
2. it’s not easy to access (Apple’s visual voicemail should help with this)
3. it’s not archivable (related to #1)
4. sometimes my cell phone won’t be getting good reception somewhere so it will fail to notify me about voicemails until long after they’ve been left
5. if I’m traveling overseas, I have to remember to make a long distance phone call to check my voicemail and once I’ve made that call, then I have to deal with #2.
6. I can’t forward a voicemail to someone in case I need to share a message
Over the past couple of years, I’ve moved all of my voicemail to email… My home voicemails get to my e-mail account courtesy of Vonage. My office voicemails get to me on e-mail via our office PBX. But my cell phone’s voicemails have continued to be locked up on my phone… until now.
Callwave’s setup was easy. I chose my provider, entered my cell phone number and Callwave gave me a command sequence to enter into my phone that changed where my phone would route unanswered calls. And, Callwave did a good job of anticipating my main questions before entering the command sequence: “What if I want to go back to my original settings? What if I need to check voicemails in my old voicemail system”. Answers to both questions were prominently visible at the right places during setup.
And that was it! Now, everytime I get a voicemail on my cell phone, I get an e-mail with the caller’s phone number, the caller ID (if it’s available), and the message as a WAV attachment. And if someone calls and doesn’t leave a message (even if my phone is off), I get an e-mail notifying me of the missed call with the caller’s phone number and their caller ID. Nice!
The fact that the service is completely free has me puzzled. A maximum number of messages per month? Nope. A maximum message length? The free version won’t send messages as WAV attachments? Nope. The pay version has some features that I can’t imagine myself being interested in (the ability to screen phone calls as they are being left and the subsequent ability to pick-up a call while someone is in the middle of leaving a message). I guess I shouldn’t complain about something being free, but it does make me concerned about whether the service will survive or not.
The only other complaint I have (did I really just complain that the service is free??) is that the audio quality is sub-par. I haven’t had any actual problems with it, ie all of my messages have been clear enough to understand, but I still wish the audio quality was better.
It would seal the deal on what is otherwise a perfect service.