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Evernote 3.0 now open to all, still awesome

Note-taking and life-recording hybrid application blows OneNote out of the water.

Rafe Needleman Former Editor at Large
Rafe Needleman reviews mobile apps and products for fun, and picks startups apart when he gets bored. He has evaluated thousands of new companies, most of which have since gone out of business.
Rafe Needleman
2 min read

Today, Evernote 3.0 (download), the note-taking application I raved about in March, opens to the public for Windows and Mac users. I highly recommend this product. It's functional and useful, and beyond that its architecture is also interesting. It's a true three-platform play: it works very well, and somewhat differently, on desktop computers, mobile phones, and over the Web.

On a PC, Evernote is a good note-taking application. The current version also fixes some issues I had with earlier betas, and I'm seriously considering finally dumping OneNote, the note-taking application I use now, for this new product.

If you have the Evernote application running on your camera phone, it will automatically upload your snapshots to the Evernote server, creating a useful archive of them. But the killer feature is that it also does OCR (optical character recognition) on your images so you can find them later by searching for text in them. Use this tool to snap pictures of products you see in stores and want to remember, to grab whiteboards in meetings, and to take pictures of people with name tags at conferences. I haven't yet lived with this product but I've tried it enough to know that it works, and it's one of those utilities that might just change your life.

Evernote makes short work of blending notes from your PC and browser, and pictures snapped with your mobile. (Web version shown.)

Finally, everything you do on your phone and on your computer gets synchronized to your Evernote account on the Web, so you can always get to your info. And if you want to run the desktop application on a second computer (or if you ever need to re-install it on your current machine), as soon as you log in it automatically grabs all your data, since everything you do on the platform is always synced. Update: I should have caught this earlier: The Web-based text editor isn't keystroke compatible with the PC-based editor. It makes switching between the two experiences confusing.

There's a free version of Evernote with a 40MB a month upload allowance and unpredictable OCR performance. For $45 a year you get a 500MB a month allowance, priority OCR, better security features, and support.

I like the way Evernote blends local software with Web-based utility, and how it keeps all your devices in sync. The price for the premium service is reasonable. I continue to recommend this product.

See also:
Apple launches Web 2.0 infrastructure: MobileMe
Live Mesh consumer app is a work in progress