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Evernote Aims to Bring All the Loose Bits Together

By Jack M. Germain
Oct 3, 2014 2:58 PM PT

Evernote CEO Phil Libin announced major expansions of the company's note-taking application at the EC4 Conference on Thursday. The new features are designed to build Evernote's business presence and keep users connected to its services, among other things.


Some of the best business-oriented and social media features will roll out as premium buy-ins. Other product tweaks will give users more efficient note-taking and organizational tools within the Evernote framework.

The new features give users the ability to find related information linked to social media entries and The Wall Street Journal. Other features provide presentation tools and store all created data within Evernote.

These features and products are calculated to give people a platform they can use throughout their lives. Evernote aims to help users link their professional and personal lives with organizational and social interaction tools all in one place.

"Evernote is doing what a lot of companies are doing. The company is diversifying its product offerings and adding new features to the flagship product. You have to keep upgrading and evolving the initial product, assuming that they are still viable," Laura DiDio, principal at ITIC, told the E-Commerce Times.

Promising Platform

The Evernote expansion includes four major elements designed to make users more productive. These features build on traits already present in the application: writing, collecting, finding via search and presenting.

Evernote claims 100 million users worldwide. Three-quarters of that user base live outside North America.

About 70 percent of its user base utlilizes Evernote for work functions, according to Libin, but much of that work is not carried out sitting behind a desk in an office.

More Collaboration

The most significant changes to Evernote are upgrades and additions to the cloud-based note-taking and collaboration service. Its Web Clipper, which clips articles, text and images from the Web and sends them to Evernote, will be one of the most appealing features for mobile device users.

Another key addition is functionality that lets users share and edit presentations. A related feature now permits read/write sharing of single notes and notebooks among users.

A new Work Chat feature places an icon on top of a note, enabling users in a group to see who else on their team is viewing it with them and enabling the exchange of messages in a pop-up window on the note screen.

Evernote iOS app screen

Enterprise Over Individual Goals

The enhancements coming to Evernote target business uses more than personal tasks, maintained Steven Berlin, CEO of Uskape.

Evernote is going where email replacement platforms like Slack and Huddle are headed, in the direction of enterprise collaboration, he said.

"The problem with these solutions is that they are not addressing the more fundamental issues of how we work individually -- most importantly, the productivity issues with individual workflow," Berlin told the E-Commerce Times.

They are focusing only on the problems with enterprise collaboration between team members, he observed. This merely treats the symptoms rather than improving our own workspace efficiency.

Eye on Revenue

Evernote may be considering its revenue stream with the new collaboration and presentation tools. That is what you have to do to stay competitive and relevant, noted DiDio.

"You can't put all your eggs in one basket," she said. "Especially in the collaboration and presentation fields, you can't afford to fall behind. Evernote is staying even."

The redesigned Web app and new version of the presentation mode are particularly appealing, according to DiDio. They automatically create a PowerPoint-style presentation.

"They are saving the content, and the content covers a wide variety of things, including the text, the map, the tables, and the photos in Evernote," she observed. "That is a nice feature when you have all of that integrated."

Possible Downside

Evernote also announced new partnerships with LinkedIn and The Wall Street Journal. Being able to access their content from within Evernote is a very convenient thing, noted DiDio.

Two major uncertainties remain. One is how well the integration will be carried out. The other is whether the enhanced features will be backward-compatible with prior versions or will require users to upgrade.

"If there is one thing customers don't like," said DiDio, "it is a forced march into a new version."

Jack M. Germain has been writing about computer technology since the early days of the Apple II and the PC. He still has his original IBM PC-Jr and a few other legacy DOS and Windows boxes. He left shareware programs behind for the open source world of the Linux desktop. He runs several versions of Windows and Linux OSes and often cannot decide whether to grab his tablet, netbook or Android smartphone instead of using his desktop or laptop gear. You can connect with him on Google+.

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