It’s been a while since we’ve talked about visual voicemail applications for BlackBerry. There seems to be a growing sense, as I’m hearing both from friends and message boards, that carrier voicemail sucks. I have to agree with these sentiments. I hate dialing into my VM and listening to my messages in sequence. It just seems so inefficient. Thanks to these voicemail alternatives, I haven’t checked my carrier voicemail in months. Today, we’re going to talk about another service, a free one: NowMessage.
The basics of NowMessage
The entire idea behind NowMessage is to rid yourself of crappy carrier voicemail. The service links into that data, and extracts it in a manner that’s easy to digest. In this manner, it is similar to YouMail, though I’m finding NowMessage far easier to handle.
Once you receive a voice message, it processes through NowMessage’s system and sends it to your email in the form of a .wav file. If you prefer, you can also receive text message notifications. However, for BlackBerry users, that is rather redundant. I’m guessing you’re going to send it to an email that pushes to your phone. Then again, my phone doesn’t ring when I get new emails, and it does for text messages. So it can act as an alert.
First thing’s first. Head to the NowMessage website (nowmessage.com, linked above) and click on Sign Up. You’ll then start the kinda-long registration process. NowMessage will ask for your phone number and corresponding email address, then move onto your name and your preferences. This part of the process is easy, and takes no time at all.
After that, you’ll have to go through a number of steps to complete the registration. This includes setting up a new voicemail password, which you will use to sign into your account. This need not be the same as your carrier voicemail password.
Once you enter in all the information, you’ll be prompted to dial a number, starting with *, which will program the service. You’ll hear a tone, and then the call will hang up. The next step is to dial the number they provide on the screen. This takes you through a further programming process.
A voice menu will guide you through, asking you to record your name as well as your personal greeting. It’s not really that intensive, but it does take a few minutes. I guess you’ll get those minutes back when you save time checking your voice messages.
That should be it. You’ll have to respond to an email asking you to confirm your address, but other than that you’re set. You can log into your account at NowMessage.com using your phone number and voicemail password.
Once someone leaves you a voicemail, NowMessage gets right to work. It converts the message to a .wav file, and sends it to your email address and sends you a text alert (if applicable).
Really, that’s it. You can then download the attachment, which will automatically open and play in your BlackBerry Media Player. It doesn’t take too long to download, or at least it didn’t for me (Verizon in NYC). While the file is small, the voice quality is surprisingly decent.
Thoughts on NowMessage’s service
Generally, I’m pleased with NowMessage, and will probably keep using it for a while to see how well it works in the long-term. Once I was through with the lengthy registration process, it was a breeze. That’s part of the appeal: it’s totally no-frills. Receive message, download message, play message. Das it.
Of course, one of the drawbacks is that there is no transcription service. For NowMessage’s purposes, though, that’s fine. Transcriptions, especially quality ones, will end up costing money. NowMessage’s appeal is that it’s free, though I imagine they could add the transcription as a premium service.
The messages were delivered rather quickly. My call log shows a call coming in at 12:09, and the email was pushed at 12:11. That’s a pretty decent turnaround time, especially considering it takes a bit to actually leave the message (so it was probably closer to 12:10 that the caller hung up).
If you’re in the market for a free solution to our voicemail needs, and don’t want the interface of YouMail, I’d definitely recommend NowMessage. If you end up using it, let me know what you think. jpawlikowski bbgeeks com.