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June 01, 2007

Use Google Talk's voicemail feature as a general purpose voice memo service

What?

Google logo

Send yourself a voicemail message using Google Talk and you'll get it as an MP3 audio file via email. This makes it a great general purpose voice memo service.

Google Talk voice memo service

The ability to record up to 10 minutes of audio and get it as an MP3 via email makes Google Talk's voicemail a useful and flexible tool for recording audio. Sending yourself voicemail gives you several options: listen to the MP3 using Gmail's embedded player, forward it to others (even if they don't use Google Talk), download it, post it to a blog or website, etc.

How?

Send yourself voicemail using Google Talk in 3 easy steps.

Before you begin, you'll need some kind of microphone or headset (I use the Bluetooth headset I bought for my mobile phone) setup as your computer's audio input device. Once that's setup, go to Google Talk's Settings to make sure the right input device is selected. For now, you have to use the desktop version of Google Talk — voicemail is not currently supported in the Gadget version.

  1. Search - Search for yourself in the "Search all contacts" field. (Hey, Google Talk Team: It would be really nice if we could send voicemail to ourselves without having to search first!)
  2. Hover - Once your name comes up, hover over it, and a dialog box will pop up. Click the "Send voicemail" button. (If "Call" is the only button that comes up, use that; it'll ring briefly and indicate that the call was not answered, and you'll see the "Send voicemail" button.)
  3. Record - Wait for the "meep", record your message, and click "End Call". You'll receive the voicemail message via email shortly afterward.

The Google Talk Blog has more information about using voicemail.

Tips & Tricks

  • To find all your voicemail messages, click the phone icon at the bottom of Google Talk, or type label:voicemail in Gmail's search box.
  • Easily record a quick podcast without having to find & setup additional software. (Audacity is a free, open source option for more extensive audio recording.)
  • Enrich email to far-away family & loved ones with the sound of your voice, even if they don't use Google Talk.

Thanks for yet another great free service, Google, and for such a well-designed & useful service, Google Talk Team!