IT WASN’T until the Evernote note-taking and archiving application launched its business service in Australia at the beginning of February that Bleeding Edge realised the extent to which it had captivated the memory-challenged and/or mildly obsessive record keepers of the world.
In the not quite five years since Russian and American entrepreneurs Stepan Pachikov and Phil Libin combined to launch a Windows beta web application in 2008, Evernote has lured about 50 million users – 800,000 of them in Australia.
Along the way it has gained versions for OS X, iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows 8 and changed the concept of the note.
The conventional idea of ”a brief record of facts, topics or thoughts” now includes mobile phone images – which, in the case of a snap of a whiteboard, for instance, may be converted to text and uploaded to one’s electronic notebook – voice memos, clips of marked sections or entire web pages, tweets and email dispatches etc.
Evernote Business formalises and extends to users the process of sharing notebooks that have been beneficial for virtual teams and knowledge sharing.
In Melbourne, frustrated by challenges of cataloguing details of damaged vehicles, a panel-beating company uploads 400 images of damaged vehicles every day for easy references and exchanges with employees, owners and insurance companies; a teacher shares a notebook with her students; a landscape architect shares plans, photos and sketches; a magazine editor runs her publishing schedule via Evernote.
Evernote is a suite of tools and services that includes Evernote Hello, which allows users to create new contacts by scanning business cards; the Skitch image-creation and annotation tool; and the Penultimate handwriting app for the iPad that syncs to Evernote.
Evernote Clearly cleans up blog posts, articles and web pages for easier reading in a browser – although it’s a good idea to check whether its judgment of ”inessential” text matches your requirements. The Evernote Web Clipper browser extension provides a simple way to capture a permanent snapshot of web pages.
There’s increasing integration of hardware devices with Evernote. The Livescribe smart pen, which synchronises handwritten notes with audio for a record of interviews, presentations and meetings, wirelessly transfers its files to Evernote.
The iHealth Labs function has a blood pressure monitor, wrist blood pressure monitor and a digital body analysis scale that uploads records to the company’s MyVitals iOS app, which integrates seamlessly with Evernote.
There’s even a clever cross-over from analog to digital note-taking via the Moleskine Evernote notebook, which works with Evernote’s Page Camera app for iOS and Android devices to capture and recognise written text and upload it to Evernote.
Having observed that many of its users store clips from foodie blogs and recipes, Evernote has a recently updated Evernote Food app for iOS and Android that allows users to record recipes, images of meals, restaurant details etc.
Perhaps the most promising aspect of Evernote is that it provides a great model for the software development industry in terms of its communication with users and response to and, in some cases, anticipation of their demands.
It has a forum for users’ questions, four blogs that include tips and guides and exchanges between designers and users. Its appointment in 2012 of former CNET journalist Rafe Needleman as ”platform advocate” enhanced its efforts considerably. His Opportunity Notes blog is worth a regular read.
Working on the ”freemium” model, Evernote offers a free, highly useful, ad-supported version, which allows users to upload 60MB of data a month. Its utility expands considerably, however, with the $US45-a-year ($43) premium version.
That increases the monthly upload limit to 1GB, allows larger notes and files, makes scanned PDFs searchable, processes images with printed or handwritten text faster, and allows iOS and Android users offline access to notebooks.
Evernote Business adds sharable business notebooks, a business library and improved sharing features including simple setting of permissions to the basic product. It costs $US11 a user a month but increases the upload limit to 2GB a month.
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