Soon Google Voice might actually do a decent job of transcribing voicemail

google voice improved transcription
Plenty of people signed up immediately when Google Voice launched in 2009, and while more have signed up since, in recent years there has been a feeling that Google may be abandoning the service, with users fearing that every update may be its last. Updates have been somewhat more frequent lately, and the most recent update to the service is an important one.

Google noticed that the transcriptions Voice provided for voicemail weren’t particularly accurate. More often than not, they were nearly indecipherable. Fortunately, Google has decided to do something about that, and new and improved transcription is on the way to Google Voice.

The improved voicemail system for Google Voice was announced in a post on Google’s official blog yesterday. The new system is powered by a long short-term memory deep recurrent neural network, which Google says cuts errors in transcription by up to 49 percent.

As part of the work on the new system, Google asked users to provide their voicemails. “Thanks to those who participated, we are happy to announce an improved voicemail system in Google Voice and Project Fi that delivers more accurate transcriptions,” Google software engineer Zander Danko wrote in the blog post.

While Google Voice users will no doubt be happy to have any improvement in the service’s voicemail transcription, the real reason we’re seeing this is hinted at above. Google’s pay-as-you-go wireless plan Project Fi uses a lot of technology from the Google Voice project, and Google likely doesn’t want the service to launch with transcription being as bad as it currently is.

This isn’t the first time Google Voice and Project Fi have been mentioned in the same breath, though it’s better news this time around. In May, invitations to Project Fi began rolling out, but Google Voice users who signed up found their numbers automatically pulled into the service, whether they planned to port it or not. Google fixed this shortly afterward, but it was a harrowing few days for some customers.

To use Google Voice’s new transcription, you don’t have to do anything special — just keep using the service and you’ll hopefully notice that the transcription is suddenly good, or at the very least less bad.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Music

Apple Music vs. Spotify: Which service is the streaming king?

Apple Music is giving Spotify a run for its money, but which service is best for you? In our Apple Music vs. Spotify showdown, we compare and contrast all we know about the two streaming music services.
Mobile

Google is adding Pixel 3 eSIM support for carriers around the world

Google's latest flagships, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, are now official and we have all the details from the October 9 event in New York City and Paris. Here's everything we know about the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.
Mobile

You can now save and review Call Screening transcripts on the Pixel 3

Google's Pixel 3 and 3 XL smartphones can take excellent photos, but there are a few artificial intelligence features that steal the show. Call Screening uses Google Assistant to answer the phone for spam calls.
Mobile

Google to end support for Android devices running Ice Cream Sandwich

Anyone with an old phone that is still running Android 4.0 may want to look into upgrading their phone, as Google has announced that it will be ending support for this older version of Android.
Product Review

The iPad Pro is the best tablet ever. But don't sell your laptop just yet

Apple has unveiled a big redesign for the iPad Pro, slimming down the bezels, adding Face ID, and the ability to attach and charge the Apple Pencil. All of this comes at a high cost however, as the iPad Pro starts at $799.
Mobile

Amazon knocks $30 off its Paperwhite ebook reader in limited-time deal

Amazon is running a couple of limited-time deals for its Paperwhite ebook reader. One offers a $30 discount, while the other throws in a pair of headphones and a free, extended Audible trial.
Mobile

New Galaxy S10 leaks showcase display sizes, confirm headphone jack return

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Mobile

Android 9.0 updates to stretch into 2019 -- will your phone get a slice of Pie?

Android 9.0 Pie has been released. But is your phone getting Android 9.0 Pie, and if so, when? We've done the hard work and asked every device manufacturer to see when their devices would be getting the update.
Mobile

LG G7 owners experiencing dreaded bootloop will have to wait a few days for fix

If you’ve picked up LG’s flagship and it’s not behaving itself, then you might find a solution here. We’ve rounded up the most common LG G7 ThinQ problems and tracked down workarounds and possible fixes.
Mobile

A render video gives us a 360-degree look at the midrange Pixels

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are considered to be two of the best Android smartphones, but it looks like Google could be prepping a midrange line. Say hello to the Pixel 3 Lite and Pixel 3 Lite XL.
Mobile

Honor to out-megapixel the competition with 48MP camera on upcoming View 20

After its phenomenal success with the View 10 in 2018, it looks like Honor is getting ready up the ante with its forthcoming Honor View 20. Here's everything we know about it so far.
Mobile

Xiaomi is preparing to set records with 48-megapixel phone camera

Bigger doesn't always mean better, but it certainly makes headlines. Chinese mobile giant Xiaomi is set to release a phone camera with a staggeringly large 48 megapixels on a single sensor.