Evernote: the web service that wants to be your new extra brain

55. evernote_logo.jpgMeet the web service that wants to become your new extra brain. Like a long personal blog – or perhaps a memory… it stores all the random shit you come across in real life or on the internet and lets you remember it.

Then search for it later.

Evernote wants to help you organise your life.

“We’re trying to make an external brain,” the CEO of Evernote tells Robert Scoble “- your one brain is just not enough these days – too much to remember. Whenever something happens that you want to remember, online or in the real world, you’ll be able to relax because you can remember it.”

With those words echoing in my ears, and fellow iphoners exclaiming that evernote was their new best friend and god-how-did-they-organise-their-lives-without-it, I tried it, expecting a revelation and immediately got a bit fed up.

Of course like anything else you have to sit down, set it up and keep coming back to it for it to get useful. You don’t need an extra brain to work this extra brain, you just need about an hour and several video tutorials. And as several of our Twitter friends mention below: you then need to remember to use it.

Follow on after the jump

As you progress there are multiple useful functions but we’ll give you the quick find-your-feet guide and then an overview of The Things Evernote Can Do For You.

First Halting steps:
1. Download the app (iphone, Blackberry, Nokia Ovi) and register
2. Sign in on the website
3. Pick up the bookmarklet and drop it in your toolbar
4. Link it to your Twitter

55. Evernote 2.jpg
Cool things Evernote can do:

1. Synchronising
Everything synchronises – so the picture you take on your phone turns up on your laptop, the web page you stuck in online ends up on your phone, and of course you can access the Evernote site on any computer with internet. Your notebook is in the cloud so it’s always by you.

2. Webclipping
This is what I’m gonna use it for. Say you get a bunch of interesting links and page from twitter and emails, but you can’t stop at 11.15am and sit down and read them all. What you can do now. Already I’ve got an audio clip of, six links to articles I want to read later, and a piece of text from an email I got.

3. Upload from your phone
Take a picture of a menu, title with the name of the restaurant, tag with “salad”, let evernote geotag the note and you can remember where you got that great salad nicoise from.

4. Twitter
If you think you’re about to say something really profound on Twitter that merits getting saved for posterity, then add @myen on the end and a copy is automatically sent to your Evernote notebook.

5. Email
Yes you can email notes to your special evernote address and they go in too. Nice.

6. Sharing notebooks
This is a bit more complicated, but has the potential to be really good. You can have more than one notebook, and if you set one to shared, you can share with a certain group of friends, they can view it or also chip in and edit it. This would be good for group projects, brainstorms etc. Alternatively you can make it completely public, then it becomes like a blog. But perhaps one that other people can edit.

The Data Limit
All the basic services on Evernote are free, but if you want the premium service- crucially increasing the monthly memory allowance from 40mb to 500mb, then you have to pay $5 a month. Not bad of course and there’s a few other features like recognising text from images that comes with that. I’m assured by heavy users that you don’t overdo your limit easily.

The Twitter Verdict
We asked our distinguished Twitter friends what they thought:
The fans:
@vervoid – I’ve used Evernote for over a year – free account only. Very good for swapping text notes between firefox, iPhone and PC app
@anu – it’s great.
@anu – I’m using it extensively and haven’t needed to upgrade to paid account yet.
@lyse – I love it – it lets me access files wherever I am and on anyones system.

The nahs…
@mobmental -evernote: too expensive. Once you start using it, you’d never stop. Soon you whole life would depend on it-& its monthly cost
@starsparkle – I forget to use it. :)
@catwalkgenius – Re Evernote – I’m with @starsparkle – love it, but it slips my mind to actually use it

The It-Would-Be-Better-Ifs:
@oxygenchameleon – pretty useful, love the interface. if u don’t title a note it should just use the 1st 2-3 words of the body text tho! #evernote
@filipelima – Evernote takes too long to open on both my mac and on my iphone, so on-the-go it makes me a bit of reluctant user. #evernote
@followddt – I love evernote on my mac. I’d use it more if the blackberry version was as good as the iPhone version

Anna Leach