evaluating evernote

April 14, 2008

I’ve been evaluating Evernote for the last few weeks. I like it. A lot. So much that I’m tempted to change over from Yojimbo.

But not yet.

Here’s what I like:

  • Without a doubt, my favorite feature is Evernote’s ability to recognize text in an image and make it searchable. I can snap a picture with my iPhone or capture a screen with Skitch and any words in the image will be searchable by Evernote. Beautiful.
  • Evernote’s ability to automatically sync with it’s online version is a very close second. The web interface via iPhone is too slow for heavy use. But to know that previously captured ideas or research can be available at anytime makes Evernote very intriguing.
  • Evernote has saved searches which serve the same function as how I use smart folders in Yojimbo.
  • Evernote works on both Mac and Windows. For those who are on one platform at work, and another at home, this is an invaluable way to keep a synced database of ideas available in both places.

Here are a few things that are missing for me (which need to be seen as a comparison to Yojimbo since that is what I am used to):

  • Evernote does not have unique note types for serial numbers, passwords, and URL’s like Yojimbo. But, I only use Yojimbo for Serial Numbers, and it would be easy enough to just enter them in a non-formatted text file. In fact, when I drag a serial number note from Yojimbo to Evernote, that’s what Evernote does automatically.
  • The interface for navigating through tags is still a little clunky. Since I use hundreds of tags, it would get messy quickly. I think Evernote should adopt a system for sorting through tags similar to Leap. Leap adds a search window to quickly narrow down tags. And once a tag is selected, the only tags now listed are those that have a file shared with that same tag. This is a must feature for Evernote in my opinion.
  • Yojimbo has a great userbase with lots of add on scripts available through independent developers. It remains to be seen how this kind of userbase will develop around Evernote. But based on Evernote’s buzz, I would say there is good potential for that.

So what is keeping me from switching right now. Two things. Two very practical things:

  • Time. I’ve discovered that all of my Yojimbo notes can be dragged into Evernote. Unfortunately, the tags don’t go with them. With 800 notes and hundreds of tags, I just don’t have the time in this season of life to go through and retag all those notes. Maybe after I’m done getting my masters. Maybe. But maybe by then Barebones will have made an iPhone syncing version of Yojimbo. Maybe.
  • Money. Right now, the cost of Evernote is unknown, and i’m not going to commit to it without that information. They have stated that it will always be free, with a ‘premium’ subscription model. But, I’m not going to lock in until I have an idea of what it might cost me for the amount of data I have.

If I were starting today, Evernote would be my choice. If you are looking for a good place to store notes and ideas, it should be your choice too. If you want an invite to the beta, I still have a handful left.

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