Get Transcribed Voicemail on Your iPhone or Android (Without Google Voice)

Last Updated Mar 28, 2011 1:53 PM EDT

A few years ago, "visual voicemail" -- seeing all of your messages in a list, like e-mail -- was the Holy Grail of messaging. But that didn't let you see the content of the messages; it only revealed how many calls you had, and usually, who the callers were. Then Google Voice came along and transcribed your voicemail into text messages you could discreetly read in a meeting without having to take a time out to listen. Now I've got an app for you that delivers transcribed voicemail, for free, without changing services or switching to Google Voice.

Yap is a new app for the iPhone and Android devices that works for free on AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon. Just install the app and turn on the service -- incoming calls will be diverted from your phone's usual voicemail system and land in Yap's inbox. There you can listen to voicemail or read the contents in text form.

It gets better. If you turn on push notifications, you'll see voicemail show up like text messages, and you can also send a copy of each voicemail to any e-mail account of your choice. The result? You can see important messages anytime, anywhere, even if you're unable to listen to messages. Thanks to the e-mail option, you can even send your messages to an administrative or personal assistant who can screen and follow up on calls for you.

The app works flawlessly; I found the transcription to be fast (as fast or even faster than Google Voice) and very high quality. There are precious few options to configure, it's easy to set up a custom greeting, and the app comes with clear instructions on how to switch back to your phone's original voicemail system if you decide that you want to leave Yap.

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