It transcribes my voice messages with scary accuracy and supplants the need for a call to a voice messaging machine. It is a technological friendly scribe, a replacement for the friend who says, “Hey, so and so called. He says…”.
Oh, sure, it’s not perfect. Take a look at the nonsensical and sometimes humorous renderings in this recent transcription from my car’s mechanic and you’ll see what I mean (e.g., “this is most of my daughter”–LOL). But the message is totally comprehensible and useful. It saved me time and money, delivering the message to my cell phone while I was busy doing another job.
But one of the things Google Voice shows is the total plasticity of digital information. It takes information from set of media (the telephone, the human voice) and transcribes it into another (a text message, the Internet). If I wanted, I could take the same information and–on an I-Pad or another reading device–re-vocalize it so that I could hear and not read it. I’m not sure of the ultimate implications of this development–it may be deleterious somehow–but right now it seems very functional and way cool.
Try it yourself and see if you agree.