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Couple of Weeks on CallWave

After a pointer from Matt a couple of weeks back, I decided to give CallWave a shot. To put it simply, CallWave takes over for your cellular provider’s voicemail services – seamlessly so far, I might add. When callers ring your phone and it goes to voicemail, CallWave takes over (which is good news for me, because Cingular’s voicemail wasn’t anything to write home about).

The benefits to the free service are relatively modest but compelling nonetheless for my usage; calls are automatically routed to your email box. Thus when my phone doesn’t ring here in the home office (my place is made of concrete), I still get the voicemail because it pops into my email box within about 30 seconds. When I’m away from the computer, retrieving your voicemail via the phone is the same as always (except you press the * key instead of the # key). When you’ve received a voicemail, instead of getting the standard voicemail indicator the service sends you a text message saying who called, and how long their message is. Simple, but an improvement over what I had.

The basic service is free – though they do offer premium, paid features like call screening and transfer. Setup really couldn’t be simpler; you register, and they send you a code to text message to a specific number, and that’s it. You’re done, and are ready to configure your voicemail and so on. Disconnecting the service, I’m led to believe, is similarly uncomplicated. The only minus is that CallWave’s inbox software doesn’t support Linux (or Mac, for that matter). Meaning that I can still play all the emails that arrive in my email inbox, but I can’t access a list of all the calls received and so on. Minor inconvenience, in my view, outweighed by the benefit of not having to get up and find my cell phone to see who rang me on that rather than the office phone.

All in all, I’m pretty happy with CallWave so far. Based on Raven’s reaction I’ll probably give its competitor GrandCentral a look at some point (their site is not letting me register at the moment), but if you’re interested, trying CallWave out is fairly low risk and low effort.

Categories: Personal.

  • http://blogs.the451group.com Raven Zachary

    …and I’m off to try CallWave. I’ll be curious to see how it differs from what I am getting from Grand Central. I do miss VirtualPBX.com (I no longer run a small business).

  • http://blogs.the451group.com Raven Zachary

    Ok – I stopped at the point where I had to actually ‘reprogram’ my phone to route voicemails to CallWave. From the feature list, it looks like it does everything that Grand Central does, minus the call routing and interception stuff.

  • sogrady

    hmm…did they ask you to do something different? all the reprogramming i had to do was send a text message. did they ask you to muck around with your phone?

  • http://blogs.the451group.com Raven Zachary

    For T-Mobile, you have to send a long code to the T-Mobile system (as if you are dialing) which reroutes all voicemail to CallWave. I guess it’s the same thing, just didn’t want to progress to that point after reading the feature list.

    The Grand Central blog indicates new features are due for public release today at the ETel Conference:

    “On Tuesday, we’re taking part to the LaunchPad, organized by Om Malik and Surj Patel, where we get to demo a host of cool new features due for release on that day.”

  • sogrady

    yup, that’s pretty much what you do with Cingular. bit of a pain, but not too bad here. if you’ve already GrandCentral working, however, i can see how you’d be relatively uninterested in going that distance.

    look forward to GrandCentral’s new features; i managed to register, although a call to the number did essentially get put on permahold. need to experiment further.

  • http://blogs.the451group.com Raven Zachary

    Grand Central is great once you get a custom greeting and all your preferences setup. Without all the tweaking, it’s not as slick.

  • http://blogs.the451group.com Raven Zachary

    One of my favorite features…call your lifetime Grand Central number from your registered mobile, home, or office line and it immediately starts playing your voicemails. You get voicemails as emails, of course, along with SMS notifications.

  • Buck

    I cant believe that voicemail hasnt been updated earlier. Im using a company called spinvox for my voicemail needs. They are kind of like callwave, but take it all to the next level. They manage my voicemail, convert it into a text that is sent to me in an sms and email. Its a great service, you should check it out too…. http://www.spinvox.com

  • http://www.youmail.com ken

    Spinvox is awesome. Totally recommend it

    While on the topic of new voicemail services, also check out YouMail.com. Not targeted at businesses, so don’t expect the feature set of Grandcentral, but you can get your online voicemail and customized voice greetings based on caller ID (without having to change your cell phone number).

    Great blog Stephen… also interesting what Google and Avaya are doing

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  • http://www.drcoco.com DrCoco

    does anyone know how to get virtual fax (fax to and from your email) with a free or cheap service? I thought Callwave did – but it seems not….

  • Eric

    Actually, there is a company I use called VoiceNation that does the same thing GrandCentral is doing and includes fax to email. You get one number, local or toll free that will forward all calls to up to 5 numbers then take a voicemail and deliver it to your email. The one number also takes a fax and emails you the fax in .pdf

    Similar to call wave you can program your cell phone to just forward to your VoiceNation number on busy/no answer and get you messages to email in .mp3 or .wav and you also have access to your messages/faxes on their online control panel. Not a free service but for the price $8.95/mo you can beat it knowing you will get all of your calls. http://www.voicenation.com

  • Marc

    CallWave is great until they suddenly decide you no longer have an account (with no warning) and you lose your voicemails. Furthermore, you can’t disengage their voicemail and return to your own unless you happen to have the short code memorized because Callwave’s customer support is behind a login that requires, you guessed it, the account info they no longer have.

  • Carla fagan

    CallWave is discontinuing their service.  Anybody know of another service?