Tired of sitting and waiting through a chain of voicemails to see if any of them are important to you? Silicon Valley-based Pinger has a new web-centric answer to the problem. I’ve used Pinger in the past because it’s a convenient way to broadcast text-based messages and e-mail attachments to a group by recording just one voice message. Now, the company has added a free (or primarily free) visual voicemail service for mobile phones to the mix. I wish the service supported more service providers—currently only Alltel, AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon are supported—but it works well and can definitely save you time if you get a lot of voicemail messages.
The Pinger visual voicemail service collects voicemails from your mobile phone (if you use one of the providers above) and shows easy-to-navigate envelope information about each sender, plus the length of the message left, and the date and time the message came in. I tried it with a T-Mobile phone and it worked well. To sign up you dial 408-916-5008 from your mobile phone and follow the instructions. Note that Pinger’s service is free, but carriers may charge normal rates for phone calls, text messages and call forwarding.
Pinger lets you manage your voicemail account from the web, so you can access the messages and make your replies online. You can also reply to and forward messages directly from your voicemail without making separate calls, and, if you choose, you can store voicemails in perpetuity.
The new voicemail features are in addition to Pinger’s traditional focus on letting you send text messages and e-mail attachments to groups with just one voice message. You can save groups—such as your direct web worker colleagues—and then tell the group the same text-based thing with one call.
If you like Pinger, also definitely look into Jott, a useful free service that lets you record a voicemail message, then transcribes it via speech recognition, and sends it either as a text message or an e-mail. You can also choose to have it sent to a number of online sources, including Remember the Milk, Twitter, Vitalist, WordPress, Blogger, Google Calendar, Jaiku, Vitalist, and more. Using your voice while on the go to add reminders to, say, Google Calendar can be very useful. Also see my previous post on free phone-based applications.
Do you use visual voicemail or another phone-based way to stay organized?