It’s funny to think about how big a step back voicemail took when it moved from desktop answering machines to mobile phones.
Image credit: Hold all my calls by Furryscaly
Back in the 1980s, if you didn’t get to the phone in time, you’d hear the caller starting to leave a message. No big deal, you could just pick up the phone and cut in. It was so straightforward and obvious, you didn’t even think of it as a feature.
Fast forward to present day, 30 years later. Somebody calls your mobile but you don’t manage to pick up in time. You try calling them back, but it goes straight to voicemail. Damn, that means they’re leaving you a message. No point in leaving them one. You hang up, leave it a couple of minutes and call them back. Provided they’re not still rambling on, you get through. So, they repeat everything they just said in the message. At some point later on, you notice you’ve got a voicemail alert. Huh, what’s this? Oh, it’s just the voicemail that my friend left earlier. Better delete that.
It’s about time the present day caught up with the 1980s!
Funny observation. :)
I guess sms was meant to ‘leave a message’…
This is so true! Because of caller ID, though, I have pretty much told all of my friends and family to not leave me a message (unless they think they’re going to forget why they called! ha!)… it is so annoying to have to go in and delete VM messages… and I will see that I have a missed call and call them back.
I think you are considering the best case. It is very likely that you will forget to call to the number after sometime without being able to reach them :)
It is also important to say that voice mail menus are kind of slow to use. You have to stay in line, hear the options and then act. With the phones we have today, we would expect a much better interaction.
Very nice that brought the subject to discussion!
Voicemail is a big frustration for many people as it has simply been neglected by mobile carriers for almost two decades! Instead, they have concentrated on delivering innovation elsewhere (3G, mobile internet etc).
This is why I set up my business as I felt that voicemail needed to catch-up with the times. Today, people expect voicemail to be as flexible as any other form of digital communication, and thereâ€™s no reason why this canâ€™t happen.
Voicemail needs to be instant and also accessible where ever you might be, whether youâ€™ve access to the web, email or mobile. Plus, it needs to be free and can be used across all carriers. This is how I believe people prefer to interact in todayâ€™s digitally-driven world. Wouldnâ€™t you agree?
I think the important thing was that people leaving a message on your answering machine were still connected to your line. As far as the phone companies were concerned, they were talking to you, and the machine stored everything locally.
With bigger and bigger phones coming out (in storage, if not in physical size), I think it’s about time that phone OSes come with built-in voice-capture systems that would automatically answer your calls, send out the ‘sorry’ message, and record the resulting message straight to your device.
However, voicemail can still have its uses. If you’re on vacation in a place you can’t use your phone, you can use a landline to call your carrier’s voicemail number, and then input your passcode.
(Maybe new smartphones could upload the message to the cloud after the call is ended.)
I use google voice. This way you can answer the call if they are leaving a voice mail. It also translates all voice mails in to text and you can read it. You can play the voice mail from your computer. I hate listening to voice mails, I feel it is such a waste of time.
I knew Google Voice did visual voicemail and voice-to-text but had no idea they allowed you to ‘cut in’ to someone leaving you a voicemail – sounds fantastic. (It isn’t available in the UK yet). It’s also possibly the reason why mobile operators aren’t innovating in the area right now. With Google poised to launch Voice internationally, it’d be a risky business.
I would turn off my voice mail if I knew how. Text message is so much better. Using Google Voice helps but the UX still isn’t that great yet.
@Kennedy – I too use the voicemail cut-in feature. I absolutely love it.
I never use voicemail. And I never leave messages.
What’s the point? 90 percent of the time the message will state who the caller is, and ask you to call them back. A missed call tells you that! And you don’t have to worry about calling up your voicemail, listening to dead messages, deleting messages etc…