This article is a continuation of our Google Voice series. In this article, we'll look at how you can receive transcribed voicemail messages and texts in any email client you wish.
This article assumes you've already got a working Google Voice account and it's linked to your phone. If you don't, please read the first article in this series.
Google Voice has two helpful options for getting your messages, beyond logging into the Google Voice Web interface. The system can (with some degree of amusing accuracy) transcribe your voicemails and email them to you. It can also email you SMS messages (in addition to passing your SMS messages on to your phone).
Google Voice's normal behavior is to send these two types of messages to the Gmail interface associated with your Google Voice account. So, if your Google Voice login is 'googlevoiceseries', then your messages will be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org (not a real email address).
To enable messaging, go to Settings and then the Voicemail & Text tab. Here you can record your outgoing voicemail message, set a voice mail PIN, and more to our purposes, turn on Voicemail Notifications, Text Forwarding, and Voicemail Transcripts.
Let's deal with the last one first, since it's the easiest. If you check "Transcribe Voicemails," Google Voice will attempt (often with hilarious results) to transcribe your voicemails into text.
I've noticed that this adds a small delay to when you get your messages, but it's still worth it, not only because the transcription is often amusing, but for the practical reason that even a poorly transcribed voicemail can give you a pretty good idea of the message context.
To be fair, the transcription technology often works quite well, so I probably shouldn't pick on Google too much here.
Working our way up the interface, if you turn on Text Forwarding, by checking "Forward text messages to my email," you'll be able to get your text messages forwarded to your email -- which will be your associated @gmail.com account. Later, we'll show how to make this go anywhere.
Finally, the Voicemail Notifications section allows you to tell Google Voice where to email your voicemail messages.
While we're here, one hint: I keep forgetting to check the "Send a text (SMS) message to" box, and if you want to actually get texts sent to your mobile phone, you'll need to check this box.
Here's a screenshot:
So, here's the thing: Google Voice likes to send your messages to a Gmail account. You can add additional accounts to the Voicemail Notifications section, but I've found that adding a non-Gmail account can often have unpredictable results.
My primary email interface is not Gmail. Instead, our corporate account is hosted on a Microsoft Exchange server and I have gigs of historical messages in my Exchange account. So far, it hasn't been practical to consider moving all that to Gmail.
As a result, while I check my Exchange account using Microsoft Outlook (or my mobile phone) at least once every 3 minutes or so, I log into my various Gmail accounts quite rarely. I would rather get my Google Voice messages right in my Outlook interface.
Fortunately, there's an easy way to solve this problem, and create a universal method to get your Google Voice messages using any client you want. Here's how.