Evernote and LinkedIn -- two of the most popular web tools for the modern businessperson on the go -- today announce a new partnership that enables any user to scan a business card with their smartphone and automatically pull all their contact info out into an cloud-stored note, no QR code required.
"Business cards are how great things start. Their exchange represents the moment that important partnerships, opportunities, and relationships begin," writes Evernote in the official press release.
Just snap a picture with Evernote for iPhone or iPad (coming soon to Android) and it magically populates a profile for you, with your new business contact's photo and as many details as it can find, either taken right off the card or else grabbed from LinkedIn's 300 million-strong database of professionals (I look forward to the first complaints from misidentified professionals who will forever be giving Evernote users the photo of a different John Smith when they hand over their business card). And no, you don't already have to be friends with them on LinkedIn for this dark magic to work.
From there, you can attach notes and other photos to that profile, keeping track of your relationship using that business card as the key visual metaphor. It's almost like CRM for people you meet at parties. It's totally searchable, Evernote promises, and entirely automated. At no point do any of their employees look at these business cards, which means that you'll finally have something in common with Evernote employees.
Sarcasm aside, that's actually a point of differentiation from LinkedIn's existing app CardMunch, which this Evernote partnership officially supersedes. CardMunch originally relied on cheap human labor from Mechanical Turk to import details, but Evernote's invested a lot in optical character recognition already as part of its quest to become the standard outboard brain storage of the cloud world. In short, they want to help you keep track not only of your business cards, but your business relationships.
Evernote is allowing CardMunch users to import their already-scanned cards over the next "several months" ahead of sunsetting it, though. And if you're an existing user of both Evernote and LinkedIn already (and you probably are), then you get a free year of business card scanning, which is normally a premium feature.
To get started, just take a picture of a business card with Evernote and a prompt to link accounts will pop up.