But uptake has slowed.
Evernote developer platform takes it way beyond note-taking
Evernote’s move from the personal to the business world wasn’t surprising – the company’s aim of remembering everything for you means that it needed to transcend the barrier between home and work. Like Yammer, it’s taken a freemium approach to integrating the two, adding tools for managing corporate notebooks alongside your own personal data. All you need to do to move to a business account is add your corporate mail address.
From the outside there’s no difference between a business notebook and your own private information. Both look the same, and are treated as separate notebooks inside Evernote. Once a notebook is owned by a company it can’t be deleted by a user – you can only leave. Business notebooks are shared in a library, with tools that let you see related content so you can quickly join a relevant set of notes, while administrators add a recommended flag to notebooks. That means there’s no learning curve, and no need to switch away from your existing desktop, tablet or smartphone apps.
Most importantly there’s complete separation between business and personal notes. Content in a business notebook is controlled by the business, content in your own notebooks is controlled by you. That means you can quickly switch back to a personal account when you leave an employer, and can keep your own data.
In a recent conversation with CITEworld, CEO Phil Libin told us he thinks of the launch of Evernote Business as “moving from single player to multiplayer.” What the company is doing with Evernote Business is wrapped up in his question “How do you know what your team knows?”
It’s a good question, and one that goes further than just into notebooks and shared information. Libin likens it to providing tools to make it easier for you to have that knowledge, noting that “search is an indication of failure.” AI isn’t the answer, either, “Evernote doesn’t need to be smart like a person, more smart like a dog. […] The art is to make you feel like you’re smarter”.
But notes aren’t the only part of Evernote that work well in business.
Evernote is also extensible, with an API makes it easy to extend and integrate with other applications. Unlike many APIs, Evernote’s doesn’t leave you coding your own connections to web services. Instead it provides a selection of SDKs for most common languages and platforms – and keeps them on github. You can use these to add Evernote support to web and mobile applications, working with free tools like Visual Studio Express and Eclipse.
There are two key APIs – one for the Evernote Cloud service, one for working with local applications on Windows, Mac and Android. In practice, you’re likely to prefer working with the Cloud API, as all Evernote notes are stored in the cloud. Pushing data into the cloud means it’ll sync with clients on all platforms, and any web apps you develop will run in most desktop and mobile browsers. You’ll need to register for an API key before you can work with Evernote’s production servers (though the test sandbox is a good place to start).
What Evernote is good at is capturing, storing (and with Business, sharing) information. Apps you build with the various SDKs will need to be focused on this, taking advantage of device capabilities.
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