Evergreen Evernote

“There are very few services that I really feel I could not live without. Evernote is one of them … I use it 10 to 20 times a day. Evernote literally saves me hundreds of hours.” This is what Tim Ferris feels. Tim Ferris is an entrepreneur and also author of books The Four Hour Workweek, The Four Hour Chef and The Four Hour Body. Tim Ferris has written the entire book - The Four Hour Chef, by using Evernote.


Evernote is a free and popular app that lends a helping hand in staying organized and increasing productivity. It can keep everything from documents to tickets to receipts all in sync. Evernote was founded in 2005. At this time Russian scientist Stepan Pachikov was developing a technology that would enable people in remembering everything by having a “secondary brain”. During the same time Phil Lubin (CEO, Evernote) was planning to start a memory focused startup. Circumstances made them come together and hence Evernote was founded. The core team was formed in 2007 and the web service for Evernote open beta was launched in 2008. Evernote has scaled to 150 million users (2015 statistics) from 1 million users in 2009. It presently employs more than 320 employees with offices in USA and Japan.

Abilities of Evernote

Evernote is not just any note taking and organizing app. The founding members of Evernote had envisioned it to be a secondary brain. And through the years with various versions and improvements, it has become a “secondary brain” for its users. It has innumerable beneficial abilities (Fig. 1) that helps its users in staying organized and staying productive.
Product range of Evernote

Evernote offers a range of products so as to work as a secondary brain for its users.

SKITCH - Skitch is an image editing tool that can be used for image resizing, cropping, indexing, export or hosting them. It can also be used to share on twitter. Text, drawings, annotation, shapes, and sketches can also be added to images. It can be conveniently used along with Evernote to create a productive environment.
SCANNABLE – Scannable replaces the bulky scanners. This app, once downloaded on the smartphone, can scan documents in seconds. It is very robust and helpful in capturing, correcting and sharing documents. It is an easy way to store receipts online.


EVERNOTE WEB CLIPPER – This web clipper can easily save web links, emails, text and images on a website with just a few taps. All this information can further be saved on Evernote for better organization. It is very helpful for people whose work involves lot of web browsing. It also helps in saving links of PDF files.


PENULTIMATE – This is a great tool to give the experience of using a pen and paper, except that here instead of paper, one can write on iPad. It can be used to doodle, write notes, make drawings, charts, and sketches, etc. and store them safely on Evernote. It is like a pocket notebook.


Note taking apps allow users to take notes (text, audio, video), save information from web, organize notes and use all this stored information to enhance the productivity of its users. There is high competition in note taking apps market. Even smartphone device companies develop their own in-product note taking app like Apple’s Notes app and OneNote by Microsoft. This further intensifies competition in the market. Because of this extreme competition, many note taking apps focus only on specific features so that they can be differentiated in the market. For example, memonic focusses on web clipping and Reqallable focusses on voice notes.

Note taking apps market feels that over the years Evernote has deviated from its main business of note taking and organizing app. Evernote came up with a wide range of products – Skitch, Scannable, Web Clipper, Penultimate, Food and Hello. All these products, though helpful, at times also make Evernote a little bulky and complex for users looking at a simple note taking app. There are many alternatives to Evernote available on the web, most of them similar. Below are some of them:

APPLE NOTE – Apple Note is useful in making checklist, drawing with finger, accessing camera on the device. Links to webpages and maps t locations can also be embedded in this app. PDF files can be dragged and dropped in Apple Note. It is a good option for people working in Apple ecosystem. It is available for only apple devices.


GOOGLE KEEP- This one is from Google, so obviously it is only for Android devices. It also has an online version and Chrome extension. It comes for free and integrates notes to google drive. It is a very simple app with not much features. It is apt for people looking for a simple note taking app.


QUIP- it is available for iOS, Android, Mac and an online version. The notes and documents on this app can be shared with a group or with friends. It has an inbuilt chat feature which makes it quite suitable for group projects.


ONENOTE- This one comes from Microsoft, hence it is a part of Office 365. Apart from that it is also available for iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone and Android. It comes for free. OneNote uses skeuomorphic virtual books which give it an appealing look. It can be used to make lists, voice notes, picture notes and to do list.


SPRINGPAD- Springpad is considered to be the closest to Evernote. Apart from having an iOS and Android version, it is also available for Kindle. It can be used on computer as well as smartphone. It can be used to make lists, organize documents, make a wish list, collaborate with a team on projects, manage appointments and work commitments. It can also auto-update edits to notes. If a location is entered, then Springpad will add a map to it along with important places around that location. It can create list from documents. For example, a recipe is added, then Springboard can automatically create a shopping list for that recipe. In short, it is very offers a helping hand in most of the daily tasks.


SIMPLENOTE- Simplenote as the name suggests is very simple. It is somewhat simple to Google Keep. It is available on iOS, Android, Kindle, Mac and web. It does not have many features. It is most useful for creating simple notes. The focus of Simplenote is only on creating notes. No audio or video features are available in this app.


There are many players in the market, but still certain features of Evernote make it stand apart from the rest. For example, its use of OCR (Optical Character Recognition) enables users to extract as well as edit text from images. In view of the competition, Evernote has also been doing changes to its apps and product offerings.

User Feedback

Evernote is loved by its users but there are some complaints as well. The biggest concern that has come up so far is concerning the security and privacy of users and their documents, etc. Users complain that when Evernote offers them to store important documents and receipts, then just one password security is not enough. There should be a two factor authentication and also a picture privacy option (for scanned documents).

Every time a web clip is saved, a new note is created. This gives users a big bunch of notes and notebooks which are later too hard and complex to manage. Also some users are looking for batch editing in mobile version. Presently if five notes are to be moved to another folder, then it has to be done individually. Some users also look for merging of notes which is not possible presently.

The Android version of the app is said to be of poor quality. Chrome doesn’t support the add-ons of Evernote specially the Evernote clipper which can transfer only the article title and URL. People expect to get the entire article in Evernote if they are clipping it, but that’s now coming easy with Android devices.

When it comes to the smartphone version, users are looking for a proper sync icon that tells if the sync has been done or how much time it might take or if there is an error. Just a rotating sync icon is not enough for users today.

Writers who use Evernote for their articles or books also have some requirements that they want Evernote to address. First they want to have a character count or word count feature and second they want keyword analysis for their notes/articles. This, according to them, will help them keep a track on the length and quality of their write-ups.

The search options in Evernote are giving some trouble to users as well. Users expect Auto tags for search. They feel that a default search option or the ability to remember last search will help in improving their productivity.

Critics feel that Evernote got diverted from its focus of being a noting taking app. It started publishing more and more new products (though they were all working in collaboration with Evernote). This gave Evernote lot of publicity but it also lost some love from its users. The new products were not all efficient as expect and had lot of bugs. When Penultimate was released, it had so many complaints that the company had to make an apology to its users and treat the bugs on an emergency basis. Evernote chat that started recently has also failed to impress the users.

Evernote CEO Chris O’Neill has decided to bring the emphasis back on note taking, organizing and improving productivity. Evernote Food and Evernote Hello have been pulled down to make the company more focused. Other products are being made more user friendly, uncomplicated and bug free.

Note taking apps are useful for everyone – a student needs for taking notes, office goers might need for taking notes in meetings and organize notes and documents, bloggers and researchers need it for clipping web pages. Hence all players, big or small, in the note taking app industry are trying their best to grab user loyalty. Now it depends on the users to decide which is the best app to suit their requirements.




















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