One software program I use every day and would be lost without is Evernote. I use it as my second brain and it faithfully stores all of the information I gather throughout my day that I find worth keeping for later. The best part of it is that Evernote’s available for pretty much any platform. You can get it for OS X, Windows, Linux (via the web, but someone’s developing a native app), iOS, Android and Blackberry. Possibly even for webOS. By being available on all of those platforms, it’s very likely Evernote is always within an arm’s reach for you, which is the beauty of it, because that makes it very easy to quickly capture some piece of information you’ll need later, saving you from having to scramble for a scrap of paper, then wonder where you put it later.
Recently, Evernote got me really excited by saying they were going to unveil a new, secret thing this week that would change the way I thought about Evernote.
I was pretty excited. What could be under that red velvet (maybe even velour?) cloth? Of the many feature requests I have, I figured the odds were pretty good that this surprise announcement would give me one of those features.
It ended up giving me none. But, at the same time, it kind of gave me all of them.
You see, instead of actually implementing much desired features and putting them in Evernote, Evernote is now becoming a platform instead of a tool that holds its own. Evernote launched a service called Trunk which is basically a collection of services that can be used in conjunction with Evernote.
There are two problems I am seeing so far with these programs and services:
- They often cost money on top of my Evernote Premium subscription (and are often subscriptions themselves)
- Many don’t offer very meaningful integration with Evernote.
Here’s an example one:
Ooh, I can save my PDF into Evernote? Wow, adding that option must have required oodles of effort! And think of all the work it’s going to save me now! Instead of saving my PDF and dragging it into Evernote, I can just save into Evernote! Wow, if I do that enough times a day, that could save me… minutes in the long run.
And sending to Evernote is the extent of its integration. If you wanted to open a PDF already in Evernote and annotate it or mark it up or edit it, you’d have to send it to Evernote again.
Here’s one that made me laugh:
It’s a paper notebook. No, really, that’s what it is. And its “integration” with Evernote is that you can just scan those pages right into Evernote when you’re done!
There are a few diamonds in the rough (Egretlist looks really promising), but fundamentally, I want to see Evernote get more cool features to let me use it in new ways, and seeing that Evernote developers are pushing Trunk is sending me a message that Evernote’s not interested in actually adding new features to Evernote. Instead, they want others to do that work. And being reliant on other companies for your own success is just not a good position to put yourself in.
I want to see Evernote investing in making new features. They’ve got access to their core elements and can make those kinds of fundamental improvements. They can change the mobile versions of their apps to do more (iPhone apps can’t really have third party plugins).
So, here are my Evernote feature requests:
- You know how Evernote can OCR images (which is amazing)? Why not transcribe audio recordings?
- Evernote has the ability to make things to-do items. Improve upon this! Minimally, let me specify due dates and give me some ways/views to manage the things I have to do (controlling that by location would be spiffy)
- Make search work with characters that aren’t alphanumeric. Seriously.
- Let me doodle on Evernote in places other than the Windows version of Evernote. Doodling in iOS version of Evernote would be sweet.
- Let me record audio while also editing a note in another way (like typing or drawing). And while you’re at it, keep track of when I write certain things so that I can go back to that part of the note and play back the audio, so I can remember context and maybe catch what I missed the first time around.
- Instead of making me highlight text to clip from the web, let me select a box and capture that, similar to how LittleSnapper handles it.
- Let me annotate web pages right from my browser, then save those annotations in Evernote. This would go great with the web site memory feature.
- Give me the ability to link to other sections of my notes and other notes in Evernote.
- Give me some drawing tools so I can circle important things, make diagrams, etc.
- Create a watch folder I can save stuff to that will auto-import into Evernote.
- Give desktop versions of Evernote feature parity.
- Give mobile versions of Evernote feature parity.
- Fix image drag & drop in OS X so that I can drag images from notes into an Open dialog box and get the image.
- Work harder on improving performance of Windows Evernote. It’s a little pathetic.
- Let me edit notes in the mobile version of Evernote.
- Sometimes I like to keep code snippets in Evernote. Let me define notes as being plain text, then let me edit them in my favorite text editor.