I’ve just discovered Evernote and I love it.
I stumbled across Evernote when its use came up as a new course at Lynda.com (an online training provider that I subscribe to. I may write about them another time).
So what is Evernote? Well the tagline on their website is Remember everything and it is kind of like a scrap book on steroids.
Evernote is an online service where you can file, well almost anything, and have it available to all your Internet connected devices e.g. Desktop computer, laptop, smartphone etc. You can even share your notes with others.
Now online filing and global availability is not new there are other companies providing this.
Evernote is more than this. As a stand-alone piece of software on your local machine Evernote provides a comprehensive filing and searching system (more on the searching shortly). Data is stored in notebooks that can be set as either local or synchronised. As you might imagine local only store data on the local machine synchronised notebooks are synchronised across each device whenever they connect to the online account.
But that’s not the best thing about Evernote.
What makes Evernote so clever and useful is the flexible data handling. You can capture anything and file it to your Evernote account. Evernote provides plugins for major browsers that allow you to capture any web pages that you want to save and store them to your account, and this can be either a snapshot of the page or just a link to the page. The plugins even allow you to just save the main content of the page without all the ads menu bars etc. In fact the Evernote Clearly plugin does a very good job of detecting the page content and linearising it so that it is in a clean format ready for saving, or printing.
I mentioned that you can save almost anything to an Evernote notebook and this can be files, emails, photos and sound clips. Evernote will even scan your photos for text and make that text available for the search function. They suggest taking photos of business cards with your smartphone and storing these in a notebook. It tried this with my business card and yes every item of text on the card was correctly identified and returned in an Evernote search.
I’ve mentioned synchronising with your smartphone so of course there is a smartphone app for your iPhone, Blackberry, Android or Window phone. This marriage of mobile and desktop access is one of the key elements of Evernote’s flexibility. Being able to capture data and easily file it via your mobile device is really useful.
Oh, perhaps I should mention here that it is available for both PC and Mac on the desktop too.
As an example I’ll relate my “test project” for Evernote.
I have recently bought a campervan and we are taking a holiday shortly touring the west coast of Scotland. We fancy going off the beaten track trying bit of wild camping. So I joined a wild camping forum and they provide a Google map overlay showing various places where their member have overnighted and recommend.
So, to Evernote, I have mapped my (more or less) intended route on Google Maps and saved a copy of that in my “Holiday” notebook. But better still using the Wild Camping suggested stop overs and street-view, I have saved clips of potential overnight spots as notes in my Holiday notebook.
I did all this on my desktop where I have room to browse conveniently but, once I’ve synchronised, all of these notes are available on my iPhone. And, of course, courtesy of the GPS on my iPhone I will be able to easily see how far I am from any given stop over as well as having a Google map close up of the location to make it easy to spot.
So there you have it, a rather more verbose than I intended, write up on my experience with Evernote.
But I do have one more thing to add, and I’ve saved the best till last – it’s FREE.
There is a paid option if you need more storage and bigger uploads and one or two other enhancements that the average user can probably live without. I’m pretty sure that I will sign up for the premium version but for the moment I’m steeling myself to stay free as for the moment at least it does everything I need it to.