Farhad Manjoo at Slate makes a good point: voicemail, the clunky old process of “pressing 1 to play, 9 to delete,” is dead. Transcription services like Google Voice and Spinvox have made the process of getting messages from your phone in audio format obsolete. And good riddance.
The bill of particulars is damning. Unlike your e-mail inbox, voice mail is impossible to skim: If your phone tells you that you’ve got five new messages, you’ve got no choice but to listen to at least a bit of each one before you can decide what to do with it. In a user-interface decision that I suspect might violate some subclause of the Geneva Conventions, your voice-mail system insists on making you listen to the same instructional prompts between each message.
I haven’t listened to a voicemail in years now, instead using various third party systems for transcription. I’ve even disabled visual voicemail on the iPhone mostly because it still requires a few seconds of listening. I’d much rather get a poorly transcribed voicemail message (“hey john this is kevin ray from you start sorry to bug you again on the phone minutes away”) and get the gist of the conversation awaiting me than wait for a message from a warranty renewal service to pop up like a whack-a-mole. So goodbye, voicemail. Go. Go now.