But using your voicemails to improve transcription isn't new
Google Voice is still alive. While many have been waiting on word of its demise (and there was nary a mention of it at Google I/O last week), Google Voice as a service continues to function, allowing you to have one phone number ring multiple lines, and providing a functional (if sometimes hilariously transcribed) voicemail box.
And today Google Voice has shown a very slight sign of life, with a new pop-up window in the web dashboard asking you to "Help us improve voicemail transcription!"
That's a good thing, because it means something — anything — new has happened with Google Voice. Asking your permission to use your voicemails to improve transcriptions isn't new, however — Google's been doing that since at least 2009, when we first wrote about it. It looks like it's doing it in one fell swoop now, though.
Here's the full text of the alert:
Google would like your help in making voicemail transcriptions better. With your permission, our automated systems will remove your account information from your voicemail messages and analyze them to improve our language models. This use of your voicemails to improve our language models is fully automated, and no humans read or listen to your voicemail messages in order to do this. You can opt out at any time, and we'll stop using your messages in the future.
And that's that. Yes, let's hope transcriptions continue to get better — and that Google Voice at large still has years of life left in it.