It's kind of strange. You can Google your inbox. You can Google your content repository if you're using the Google Search Appliance. You can even Google your Google Voice, if you've got that set up on your cell phone. But you really can't Google your voicemail, or your entire phone system. But there's a ton of data locked up in there.
Imagine that you run the phone system for a large company - 2000 employees. If they each receive three voice messages per day (1MB of vm), your company is amassing 480GB of voicemail every year. This is a lot of unsearchable data. Google enabled voicemail transcription around 2009, when they re-launched Grand Central (who didn't invent voicemail transcription. The patents were filed about five years ago, and Google does currently own a number of them).
As an IT professional, you're probably thinking, "Wait - Google's partnered with Level 3 Communications. They have 11,000 employees. Surely there's someone in the R&D team who's working on this."
Well, maybe there is, but everyone's been mum about details. So here's why it's not really possible to Google your own voicemail.
The key obstacles
- Google has to upgrade their Google Voice support from "best effort" level. That's tech industry slang for "we'll do whatever the heck we want." In a best effort delivery, the vendor doesn't provide any guarantees that data is delivered or that a user is given a guaranteed quality of service. Enterprise class, it ain't.
- Google has to set up 2-way accessibility for Google Voice and PBX phone systems. Currently there's no way to connect a soft PBX like, say, RingCentral or Grasshopper (what my firm uses) to Google Voice. The current integration is messy and ineffective.
- Google Voice needs to support non-US SMS. Currently, you can't even text Toronto (reliably) or Mexico City from your NY-based Google Voice.
- Google needs better integration with one or more soft PBX vendors. Without integration with two or three of the major soft PBX vendors, or perhaps even with one of the open-source PBX vendors like Asterisk, it's going to be difficult for Google to make inroads into the voicemail search space.
- Google needs a major commitment from Level 3 and Global Crossing. Google has two big partners in this venture (as well as a host of small ones). If they don't step up to the plate, in terms of business development in the telecom space (never Google's strong suit), then I don't see voicemail search becoming a reality.
Adam Metz is the VP of Business Development at Metz Consulting the social concept, a social customer management-consulting firm, based in Oakland, California. Metz has consulted with companies since 2006 on how to acquire, manage, monetize and retain customers from the social web. Metz's customer community, at http://metz.customerhub.net has nearly 500 members, and offers a no-cost 9-hour training course on social customer relationship management.Metz's second book, The Social Customer, was released on 9/16/11 and has hit #1 on the Amazon marketing charts. Adam's first book, There Is No Secret Sauce, has sold or downloaded over 3000 copies, and is currently in its third printing. He has additionally published an eBook, The Metz Way.Metz specializes in social media marketing and social customer relationship management (social CRM) for awesome consumer brands and loves lifestyle, travel, apparel and consumer-packaged goods (CPG) companies.Metz has consulted with nearly 100 consumer and B2B companies, including Hershey's Chocolate, Waggin' Train Pet Food, Wente Vineyards (top 30 winery) Pirate's Booty, MBT Shoes, Maestroconference, Obama Girl (Barely Political), Lynda.com, Passport Resorts, Hollywood Park Racetrack, The San Francisco Convention and Visitor's Bureau, Mighty Leaf Tea, Timbuk2 bags, and dozens of others. Adam Metz also worked on the first social media program for Pulitzer-Prize winning author Thomas Friedman.Metz has lectured at the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Washington, and University of California, Santa Cruz and has given keynote talks at numerous conferences and associations including the California and Minnesota Chapters of the American Marketing Association, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, the Western Association of Convention & Visitors Bureau Technology Conference, and the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association.Metz lives in Oakland, California with his fiancee Susan.