I’ve just discovered Evernote and I think I’ll be using this service a lot. It combines online notes, bookmarking, character recognition and a filling system to create a very efficient way to capture and organize your thoughts, observations and all those things you need to remember. There are a couple of versions of Evernote, I’m using the 3.0 beta which is Web (and mobile web) based, although it also has a optional desktop component. I haven’t tried the older desktop-only 2.2 version. The 3.0 beta is currently “closed” but that just means who have to request a invitation which can take a few days. The invites seem to be all over the web lately, in fact I have 20 to give out. Leave a comment if you want one.
The way Evernote works is that you send it “notes”. The notes can be Web pages, PDFs, images (especially those containing text) or snippets of text from a page, e-mail or document. To send notes to Evernote you can use a bookmarklet, e-mail, MMS or Evernote’s Mac OS, Windows Mobile, XP or Vista clients. There are also Java ME and iPhone clients are under development. The Windows and Mac desktop applications are complete standalone note management systems that can optionally synchronize with Evernote on the Web.
I use Evernote by sending camera phone photos of business cards, white board scrawlings and handwritten notes to Evernote with Shozu. When Evernote receives a note or picture, it extracts the text, using OCR if the note is an image, and indexes the text to make it searchable. You can categorize notes with tags and organize them into multiple notebooks.
Notebooks are private by default but you can share by setting a notebook to public, which makes it visible to search engines and accessible by anyone.
Notes can be searched for text content, including text in images and also by attributes like tags, date created, source (e-mail, web clipping, etc) and content (image, ink, etc).
The mobile web version of Evernote lets you search your notes and create new text notes. Notes can also be shared by e-mail from the mobile web page. The mobile site works well although notes are not paginated and images aren’t resized. Page size can be get rather large, too large to load in the less capable built-in Motorola and Openwave browsers of some phones.
Evernote works especially well with Shozu. I’ve configured Shozu to automatically upload photos to Evernote making note taking as easy as snapping a picture.
The Beta version of Evernote is free and unlimited although the company plans to eventually cap the amount of data you can store and offer a premium version with higher limits.
Evernote is a game changing application. Its character recognition is very good, almost perfect with business cards and printed matter. It even found text in my sloppily penciled post-it notes about half the time. When I wrote neatly with a pen recognition improved to almost 100%. Evernote is easy to understand and use. The concept is pretty obvious and it just works. Combine the ease of use with the fact that it works with virtually any phone using MMS but can exploit the browsing and file upload capabilities of more advanced phones and you have one killer mobile app.
I’ve created a simplified version of the Evernote bookmarklet that works in Opera Mini and Mobile and Mobile Internet Explorer. The bookmarklet and installation instructions are on the Yeswap.com Opera Mini Bookmarklets page at o.yeswap.com.
Mobile link: preview.evernote.com/m
Ratings: Content: Usability:
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