With an update released today, Evernote is bringing descriptive, natural language-based search to its Mac client. The feature, which can be activated from Evernote’s search bar, aims at making it easier to find specific notes using a natural input system for note names and content, as well as more advanced filters for date, location, device, and attachments.
Descriptive search is, essentially, a refined interface for Evernote’s existing search system, which has long enabled users to find notes by combining tokens in the search menu. Instead of clicking to choose search options and combine them, you can now type commands such as “notes created this month” or “notes with images and created this year” and Evernote will display a suggestion based on matching search results for your account. (more…)
When Evernote for iOS 7 was released in September, the app received a fair amount of criticism: the company had once again completely redesigned the app after users were still learning their way around the previous major redesign, there were bugs with sync and the note editor, plus several other minor issues that, together, didn’t provide a smooth upgade experience. Evernote listened and started working on iOS updates aimed at fixing problems reported by the userbase, which had resulted in low ratings on the App Store.
Synchronization is now about 4X faster than ever before. This applies to any version of Evernote that you use. Sync now often takes a couple of seconds to complete, and when you get a new phone or computer, downloading your notes will take much less time. If you have a small account, you might not notice that much of a difference. On the other hand, if your account is large, or you’ve been using Evernote for many years, or you share notebooks with other users, or your entire company uses Evernote Business, you’ll see massive improvements. All four of these things happen to be true for many early Evernote employees, so the performance gains we’re seeing at the office are amazing. That explains the rejoicing.
The performance gains are noticeable for my account, which has over 2200 notes. This is especially good news for me as I use the Evernote apps a lot when I'm on 3G, and hopefully it'll result in better handling of large attachments as well.
I got the wrong sort of birthday present yesterday: a sincerely-written post by Jason Kincaid lamenting a perceived decline in the quality of Evernote software over the past few months. I could quibble with the specifics, but reading Jason’s article was a painful and frustrating experience because, in the big picture, he’s right. We’re going to fix this.
In the first of two updates, Evernote for iPhone and iPad got a nice update yesterday that mainly benefits premium members. Premium members can now scan in an unlimited number of business cards that are converted into editable contact notes, which can be further updated with info from your LinkedIn account or address book contacts. Presentation Mode lets you present your notes as full screen presentations over AirPlay. Non-paying members can add 5 business cards and try Presentation Mode for 14-day days. Lastly, they’ve made a change to the quick note function, letting you choose whether ideas get siphoned into your business notes instead of a personal notebook.
Bake in Clearly, integrate Skitch, toss in the clipper from Evernote’s helper, then add sharing, and you end up with Evernote’s new Web Clipper for Safari. Once a pop-up that simply copied the full page or URL, the new Web Clipper condenses page grabs and annotation tools into a simple sidebar, adding almost all of the base features you’d find in Skitch, a standalone screenshot, image, and PDF markup and sharing application for desktops and mobile devices.
The new Web Clipper is activated by clicking on the toolbar button, which slides out a sidebar that’s reminiscent of the formatting bar found in iWork’s updated apps for OS X Mavericks. All of the actions are organized neatly into various sections for cropping the web page, drawing shapes, and sharing the results. Arrows, squares, and text can be dragged around, rotated, and resized using onscreen handles for annotating webpages. Clip tools give you a wide variety of options, including the ability to format the page into a readable article view as Clearly would before taking the final screen grab. Sharing gives you a URL that you can paste into a chat app or your favorite website, while also presenting options to share via Facebook, Twitter, or publicly via Evernote itself. There’s a couple kinks with the extension, mainly that it doesn’t like to be used with swipe back gestures or the back button while the sidebar is open, but otherwise the tools work just as Skitch lets you on a Mac.
Saving web pages into Evernote is a great way to remember a cool design, highlight an important note, or refer back to a piece of content for later reading, homework, and marketing research in an instantly searchable database. The extension is a complete revamp over the previous one, putting all of the tools that used to require two or three apps into a streamlined list of actions that doesn’t get in the way. Chrome received the new look a while ago, and hopefully the Firefox extension is next.
Released in late September, Skitch 3 for iOS was a great reimagination of Skitch, but it lacked some handy features like Maps integration and an Open In menu to send annotated images to other apps. I called Skitch 3 “a fun, quick annotation app with a lot of tools but a focus on speed and straightforwardness”, noting how it became my go-to image annotation app (again).
With today’s 3.0.4 update, Evernote has brought a series of minor but welcome enhancements that make Skitch more powerful and integrated with other iOS apps. Notably, an Open In option has been added to the sharing menu, allowing Skitch to send annotated images directly to iPhone and iPad apps (in my case, Droplr).
As detailed on the Evernote blog, other additions include an overflow menu that contains a Crop function and a “Clear All Annotations” shortcut; possibility to annotate your current location on a map view; and new controls for Evernote notebooks. While Skitch 3 wants to be an annotation app that can be used without Evernote sync, users who want to send images to Evernote can now choose a default notebook in the Settings.
I like today’s Skitch update, especially for Open In support (my Skitch > Droplr > Tweetbot is now much simpler). Skitch 3.0.4 is available on the App Store.
We believe that the best technology experiences happen when software and hardware are built together to achieve a shared goal. Penultimate was already a great handwriting app, but it needed a hardware complement that didn’t exist. In working closely with Adonit for the last 18 months, we’ve co-created the stylus we always wanted: the Jot Script Evernote Edition, the first true precision-point stylus on the market. Together, we’ve developed the first app and stylus combination that finally makes digital handwriting the experience it should be.
I wish that I was enough of an artist to truly appreciate apps like Penultimate and Paper and use them on a daily basis. The Adonit Jot Script seems like an interesting device, and the new features that have been added to Penultimate (zoom and drift) should make for a more natural handwriting experience. Maybe I should use Penultimate to create sketches site redesign ideas (I already keep website screenshots in Evernote).