Simplify text messaging with Jott

JottLet me start off by stating that I do not text. My wife has recently become accustomed to text messaging and my days of not texting are most likely numbered. My eventual entrance into the text messaging world will most likely involve Jott.

Jott is a hands free mobile e-mail service that allows users to send a text/e-mail to a contact by simply calling the Jott service and dictating a message. Jott then sends an e-mail and a text to the contact that you requested. No need to fiddle around with learning how to type on those annoying little keypads. There is a simple How-to page available on Jott’s website. You can also send reminders to yourself and hit your Twitter account with updates if that is your cup of tea.

There are also quite a few third party web services that can be used via Jott. Among those is I Want Sandy. This service allows you to call in reminders, appointments, to-dos, contacts, notes – even look things up – right from your phone using just your voice.

Hand held devices are becoming more common, and services like Jott are bringing us one-step closer to a paper-less world. If Jott isn’t the exact service for you, check out their competitors before discounting the concept completely.

31 Comments for “Simplify text messaging with Jott”

  1. posted by Andrew Flusche, Virginia Lawyer on

    Great article, Matt! I have used Jott for several months, and it’s definitely a handy tool. Couple it with a bluetooth headset, and you can easily get things done wherever you are.

    I wrote about sending tasks to my to do list, using Jott: My Killer GTD Setup, in Progress.

  2. posted by Emma on

    I can’t believe people actually use this… surely most phones these days can easily add notes to a calender. I use mine with google calendar without a problem.

    I accept some people may be reluctant to text but “No need to fiddle around with learning how to type on those annoying little keypads” if you can type in a phone number you can text a message.

  3. posted by Shannon on

    Isn’t a website like Jott the complete opposite of uncluttering? Having to keep track of yet another bill to pay simply because people can’t be bothered to “learn how to type on those annoying little keypads”. Did you also have a service to dictate emails because you didn’t want to fiddle around with learning how to type on a computer keyboard when those first came out? It makes me sad that we are lazy enough of a nation to support a company like Jott. On the other hand, kudos to them for making a profit on other people’s laziness and unwillingness to try and learn “new” technology.

  4. posted by Erin Doland on

    @Shannon — I think it’s free.

  5. posted by S on

    I’m not sure I understand all the negativity here! I’d never heard of this before, and it sounds absolutely fabulous. First, it’s free, there are no “bills to track” or anything. Second, I can think of MANY times where I’ve been driving, remember something, and I want to send myself a sticky-note reminder. Or, I’d like to text someone, but don’t feel like veering off the road.

    I’m not sure how good the voice recognition system is, but this sounds almost as useful as GOOG-411.

    Thanks for the heads up!

  6. posted by Mary on

    Shannon – being able to call Jott is very handy for some who find texting cumbersome (like my husband who has big hands) or for those whose style is audio rather than tactile. It works beautifully for many people.

  7. posted by Jason on

    FYI Shannon… Jott has been, and will be free for as long as they’re in beta… and these days apps stay in beta for years… think Gmail.

    Jott has become an indispensable part of my daily activity. I don’t use it so much to text other people, but it’s a killer note taking/reminder service… especially for times when you’re away from a computer. It is much faster that typing on the keys. Anyone who has a RAZR on Verizon knows that the UI sucks. It’s much simpler to open the phone, speed dial Jott and leave a message. In usually about 10-12 seconds I’m done. Even if I had a smart phone, I imagine I’d still use Jott. I also love that you can setup reminders for yourself, send things to Google Calendar, and look up prices on Amazon. One thing about the service though… you have to enunciate. I have a tendency to mumble so I have to be careful about that.

  8. posted by William Mize on

    Wow, not feeling the love for Jott.
    I mentioned it yesterday as an essential tool for on the fly additions to my Google calendar.
    It’s also useful for quick voicemail messages to friends overseas when the cost of calling is prohibitive.
    I also use it a great deal for quick voice reminders to myself *cough* while driving *cough*

  9. posted by jane on

    Seems silly to me – a middleman for texting? Kind of defeats the purpose. Why not just call the person directly if it’s so important or not at all if it’s not?

    I’m trying to figure out why anyone would find this useful. Maybe I’m spoiled with my Blackberry keyboard? I’ve never tried texting on a regular cellphone, but I would guess the word-recognition is fairly good, so I stick by my original comment.

  10. posted by Matt on

    I use Jott tied to Remember The Milk all the time – sure, I can fiddle around with the keypad on my phone while I’m driving, but that seems rather dangerous to me. Sometimes, It’s easier to pick up the phone, hit the one shortcut key, then speak my reminder.

    Jott works pretty well – they get medication names right, and my experience has been that they get most things right. But, you must be articulate.

  11. posted by Nancy on

    I discovered Jott on Lifehacker. The post came at a perfect time because I was looking for a way to record ideas that only pop into my head when I’m driving. Scrolling through 4 screens on my cell phone to get to the voice recorder was a recipe for disaster and not good role modeling for my 3 teenage drivers.

    I mainly use Jott to record thoughts or send longer text messages to my kids. The voice recognition isn’t perfect. While running through the house, I Jotted my son, “Do you need socks?” and he received it as “do you need a fox?” I jotted myself an idea and it came out so nonsensical none of the words could retrigger the thought.

    I’ve also tested it using numbers. For example, last time I filled up my car I jotted myself the mileage and gallons used. That worked well.

    I wouldn’t use Jott to text someone in a business situation or to someone I don’t know well. But, it’s a useful service and I hope the voice recognition continues to improve.

  12. posted by Jason on

    I tested Jott one time using these two sentences: “Do research on genes” and “Go buy blue jeans”. Jott was able to put the words “genes” and “jeans” in context and spell them correctly in each situation despite the fact that those two words sound the same in the English language. Granted, I’m a simply guy… I’m easily distracted by shiny things, but Jott’s ability to do this is impressive.

  13. posted by jane on

    Ahh, maybe it’s for the drivers? I live in a city and don’t own a car.

  14. posted by Shannon on

    I got the impression from the posting that it wasn’t for safety issues while driving, it was simply because someone didn’t want to fiddle around to learn how to type. That’s just lazy. I still stick by that.

    I’m all for less people texting while driving, however. In that case I can see it being useful.

  15. posted by Cranky Moe on

    @ the jott haters

    When did empowering people with a tool that interfaces with a few dozen other services become a source of clutter?

    There are plenty of practical applications for a tool like jott that go beyond avoiding the “laziness of fiddling” around typing.

    There are a tons of places and spaces where people have a need to text that don’t involve driving. I once had a need to send text messages with a low battery in minus six degree weather. My voice with jott would have worked much better than my fingers.

    They’re not making a profit on “other people’s laziness and unwillingness to try and learn ‘new’ technology.” They’re risking big money creating something new because 1) somewhere there might be a need for it, 2) they apparently believe in the service and 3) it’s what some people do when they’re minds are free of uncluttered, judgemental crap.

  16. posted by amy on

    anyone know of a UK-friendly jott-like service?

    I’m using my phone for more and more online stuff these days – Iwantsandy, twitter etc, this would be great


  17. posted by Robert Reed on

    I’ve used Jott to send mobile text messages, but the messages are in html which gets stripped, and then the body of the message gets truncated into the subject line, so its repeated in the text, and the end result is you only get to communicate about 60 or 70 characters before the SMS limit.

    Otherwise, Jott rocks for sending messages to myself.

  18. posted by delphine on

    Oh, at first I thought that you had to pay to use Jott and thought that was a bit ridiculous but if it’s free and it works for you…cool. Who am I to ridicule someone for not wanting to text? It can be rather tedious sometimes.

  19. posted by Emma on

    Riight, I guess it would be useful while driving. But to be honest I’d prefer people not use the phone at all while driving. Even using hands free is more dangerous than not!

    This being free does make it more useful I guess, but I think I’ll stick to texting and Google Calendar!

  20. posted by Kate from Jott on

    It’s great to read all of these comments and I thought I’d chime in here a second to help clear up some points.

    Jott focuses on organization and communication for the sake of productivity, we try and steer clear of encouraging laziness 🙂 We offer people a way to text message that doesn’t involve typing, not so they won’t learn how, but so they can quickly get their message across and save some time. Plus, we are indeed free!

  21. posted by LEC on

    Jott’s a terrific little tool. One of my favorite applications is when I’m driving along and a thought pops into my head…a thought that would otherwise have me pulling over to the side of the road to “jot” it down. Now, I just dial out using my bluetooth headpiece, record the message, and it’s delivered into my email for later organized retrieval. For those of us who are techno-inclined scatterbrains, this is a mighty neat program.

  22. posted by William Mize on

    I’d also like to add in my own defense and use of Jott that a) Sprint’s text messaging costs are ridiculous, and b) trying to text on a Sprint Katana phone is maddening to the extreme.

    Hence, Jott 🙂

  23. posted by amber on

    this tool might just save me from a traffic ticket (since texting has been added to the list of primary offenses in NJ). even though i have a full keypad…and can text quite easily, i still have to look down from time to time. i should get this a try for texting myself notes while driving.

  24. posted by Wayne Schulz on

    I’ve tried this and found the accuracy was much greater when you are a newish subscriber than after you’ve been with Jott for a few weeks or months.

    I think once you’re hooked, rather than having a human transcribe you they start throwing you through voice recognition which quite honestly I’ve found is not that good.

    Just my .02

  25. posted by Kiki on

    When I first heard of Jott, I thought it was an amusing novelty, but figured I wouldn’t really find any use for it. Now it’s great– I have it on speed dial! If I’m walking somewhere and need to email myself a reminder, I just speed dial it and jott myself! If I’m almost asleep but suddenly have an important thought I don’t have to fumble for paper and pen and lose that sleepy feeling, I just groggily call Jott and have it send me an email to check in the morning. It’s also been a handy way for me to get in touch with people when I’m away from a computer but have a phone, and they’re away from their phones but on a computer. I just jott them. I know someone who records his dreams using Jott. I’ve also used it when I wanted to tell someone some Deep Though late at night, but didn’t want to wake them with a call. I think Jott’s computer/human transcription is great, and the transcriptions have actually improved over time. (Plus, if the transcription goes wonky, you can listen to an audio file of it!) Yay for Jott, its freeness, and its innovativeness!

  26. posted by Kiki on

    Sorry for the crazy-long paragraph of ramble– just a big fan!

  27. posted by AliT on

    Like Amy, I’m in the UK, where it is illegal to hold your phone while driving (whether to text or make voice calls). This sounds like a great idea. Does anyone know of a UK equivalent, please?

  28. posted by AliT on

    Just found SpinVox, but it looks pricey.

  29. posted by Christoff on

    I’ve been using Jott since Oct 07 and it’s truly a lifesaver. I use it to email myself work reminders, grocery reminders, etc. I also use it to jott to google calendar and twitter.

    It’s free, interfaces with igoogle via a widget, and helps me to keep things organized. Not sure how anyone could hate on a service like this.

  30. posted by McFly on

    @Amy I’ve been using Jott from outside the US via Rebtel. It takes a little bit of setting up, though. Here is a little guide on how to do it:

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