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Portland, OR, United States – Let’s face it, of all the nice factors that we have to being connected in the new-fangled mobile era, voicemail is not one of them. This old leftover idea from the analog world of the answering machine is the bane of many mobile phone owner’s existence. Practically everyone I know dislikes voicemail. It just requires too much work. You have to dial in, enter a PIN, listen to each message, press a button to delete. The process takes entirely too much time. However, what if you could enable a service that would make voicemail behave better? Today we look at two such services.

HulloMail is a service that has been around for a quite some time. In fact, after SpinVox left the scene I know many folks who actively used HulloMail and have kept it ever since. How does the service work? Let’s break it down.

Upon sign-up, HulloMail asks you if you’d like to integrate with your existing mail solution: currently it works with Gmail and MobileMe. Then, no matter what mobile operator you use, when a call is sent to voicemail, the call is actually routed to HulloMail after you enter in a code on your phone to divert calls to HulloMail. Then, voicemails are sent to your email and if you have push email enabled on your device, you can get voicemails as an attachment.

Hullomail also notifies you of a received voicemail via text messaging and you can dial in to the service (if you wish to do it this way) to retrieve your message straight from the voicemail.

Other benefits for SmartVoicemail from Hullomail include the ability to listen to your voicemails via the web, get notified of missed calls even if your phone is turned off or without coverage and the ability to view your messages all in once place.


Switching gears to a different option, YouMail is another provider that does voicemail enabled in email and much more. Like Hullomail, you can see your voicemail in a visual way using YouMail’s website. Additionally, with a paid subscription, YouMail offers voice-to-text transcriptions that use voice recognition to make your spoken voicemails into an easily readable message that is retrievable via text message, email or via the YouMail website.

Going a few steps further, YouMail also makes it possible to respond to callers with a personalized custom greeting. Perhaps you want to greet a dear friend by first name or a business associate with their preferred nickname, the YouMail system can play a custom greeting based on the caller’s phone number. Interested in blocking unwanted callers via blacklists or sharing a voicemail to anyone via an email?  YouMail can do that too.

Options Abound

As you can see, there are a few options out there for replacing the mundane factors of having a phone, even when it comes to plane old voicemail. If you’ve used either of these services, please leave feedback down below. Also, what methods have you used to discourage voicemail use? My outgoing message tries to get folks to just text message or email me, but I still get the occasional annoying voicemail.

Photo credit: brendajos70