Of late I had been interested in a more functional (but of course FREE) type of voice mail service for my cell phone and had been shopping around. One service I immediately connected with was YouMail.
YouMail is a FREE voice mail service for your cell phone that has many different functions. Firstly, they offer voice mail retrieval by phone (the standard way) or online (via an account you set-up from your computer) or via a SMS or EMAIL notification. Since I don’t like having to call my voice mail to listen to a message every time and since I don’t have an unlimited text messaging plan, I opted for notifications to be sent via email.
So it goes something like this…someone calls you and goes into your voice mail. They leave a message. You then receive a notification (via SMS or EMAIL) usually within a minute and in the notification you get a Caller ID listing (so you know who called) as well as date and time of the call. You can then follow the link on your Blackberry browser to listen to the message online OR, EVEN BETTER, you can opt (which you indicate online in your account settings) to have the voice mail recording sent as an attachment to your email in either a .WAV or MP3 format. It plays in speaker mode but it beats having to call your voice mail every time you have a message.
What’s evenbetter is now YouMail has a voice message transcription service. OK, it’s still in beta and translation is a bit ‘iffy’, especially if the person leaving the message doesn’t speak clearly and slowly enough – but it does give a quick and general idea as to what the call is about. And you always have the .WAV attachment to listen to anyway.
One of the neater things about YouMail is their ‘Smart Greeting’ option which basically works by utilizing Caller ID. If it recognizes the name from the Caller ID it answers like this, ‘Hello (first name of Caller ID), (your name) can’t get to the phone. Please leave a message after the tone.” In most cases, it works pretty cool (and wows a few people :0) but in some cases, where someone is calling from say a business…it can sound pretty odd. However, I haven’t had anyone complain yet. If someone calls from a blocked or private number, you have a ‘default’ voice greeting option you can choose and it will automatically answer with that greeting.
You can of course record your own personal voice greeting but for some reason when I did that, I wasn’t able to receive any notifications. (I have an email into their support team to try and work on that.) You can also choose one of their pre-recorded ‘Cool Greetings’ which have several different categories from ‘Professional’ to downright ‘Funny’. And you can personalize greetings so each contact that calls you has their own personal greeting.
As I mentioned before, YouMail is a FREE service but keep an eye out for a few things.
1. If you don’t have unlimited text messaging on your plan be sure to choose notifications sent via EMAIL.
2. If you use the option of calling in to your voice mail using their #714 number, it will come out of your minutes.
3. Usually (at least with T-Mobile) if someone calls your phone and gets your voice mail, there is no charge. With YouMail, voice mail calls are forwarded to their #714 number, so there is minute usage involved but it is generally only one minute per call (could be longer I suppose depending on if someone leaves you a monologue) and in my case with T-Mobile, comes out of my ‘call forwarding minutes’ and not my ‘whenever minutes’…if that makes any sense. You can check with your own service provider to see how it works for you.
In summary, YouMail is a pretty cool service and there is a lot more things you can do with it that I haven’t mentioned. A visit to Youmail.com will explain more of it to you. The initial set-up is easy once you sign up. They send you a few SMS messages and then show you easily how to forward your voice mails to their number – but I would recommend being in front of a computer when you do this initially as it will just be easier. And you can configure your account settings immediately.
I am still playing around with YouMail but so far, I am finding it much more convenient and quicker to listen to voice messages. And unless I get surprise charges from T-mobile (which I’ve been checking randomly so far and all seems well) or something better comes along that’s free…I’ll probably stick with YouMail for a while.
For more information, visit Youmail online from your computer at: http://www.youmail.com/home/index.do