Skip to main content

Voice-to-Text Messaging Now On Skype

Skype announced this morning that SpinVox will now provide voicemail-to-text conversion for Skype

Ebay's Skype, a highly-popular voice-over-IP client featuring an integrated text chat element and voicemail, is used by more than 405 million registrants globally, and is the base of communications for many of us here at Bestofmedia. According to the Skype developers, users who take advantage of the software's voicemail feature can now benefit from "visible voicemail," as the developers brought in SpinVox to convert voice messages into text. Currently SpinVox can convert voice messages into four languages: English, Spanish, French and German.

"Using SpinVox gives our users added flexibility and convenience over their Skype voicemails," said Mike Bartlett, director of product strategy at Skype. "As people continue to spend more time on the move and on their mobile devices, people want to take their Skype conversations with them. SpinVox is a great option for our users to save time on checking their Skype voicemail and receive messages immediately sent to their mobile phone."

For users who are away from Skype, SpinVox can convert the voicemail messages and send the SMS text straight to a mobile phone. However, the service isn't free (naturally), costing consumers €0.20/ £0.17/ $0.25 plus the cost of sending an SMS at standard low Skype rates. The company also said that additional SMS charges (a maximum of three) may apply depending on the length of the voicemail message. Needless today, that awfully long chewing out by the significant other via voicemail may cost a pretty-yet-hefty penny once Skype and the SpinVox fees come into play.

Want to take the semi-free route? Although the SpinVox fee still applies, users can get the SpinVox converted voicemail by email, however in both cases--whether SMS or email--the process takes around ten minutes once the voicemail becomes available, giving users time to listen before SpinVox kicks in. In the case that SpinVox cannot convert the message (voice too low, background noise too high etc), users will receive an alert (charged at Skype's standard SMS rate), plus the SkyVox fee. Evidently, users will have to pay whether the message translates or not.

According to Skype, voicemail is included in all the unlimited calling plans, costing $2.95 per month ($3.39 for VAT) for consumers in the United States and Canada. For users not subscribing to the unlimited plans, voicemail will cost Skype users $6 for three months, or $20 for a full year ($6.90 and $23.00 for VAT), and that does not cover the cost of making calls through Skype. Even still, the fees can add up for non-subscribers, packing on conversion and SMS fees on top of the voicemail quarterly charge.

However, to keep SpinVox from sending an infinite amount of SMS messages, especially for those who don't check voicemail often enough, users can actually set a limit on the number of conversions received per day, and even choose to receive messages only from people on their contact list "to help them manage their Skype credit." Skype will email users when the limit is exceeded.

"Skype is the first internet communications software provider to deploy SpinVox, further reinforcing our position as the only provider of voice to text messaging services which are used daily by millions of people on five continents," says SpinVox co-founder and CEO, Christina Domecq. "Our user base has grown over twenty-fold in the last 12 months and bringing Skype's voicemail subscribers on board will accelerate this trend."

Founded in 2003 and owned by eBay, Skype generates revenue through its premium offerings, such as calls made to and from landlines and mobiles, voicemail, call forwarding, and SMS.