Evernote For Android Gets Smarter – Now Takes Dictation Too!

Evernote has been a great way to take or carry around your digital notes. Be it an audio or image or a clipped webpage, Evernote offers a nice way to collect them and keep the notebook in sync across all your devices. The Evernote client for Android just got better with the new speech to text feature that enables you to take notes just by recording anyone’s dictations.

Tap the icon to create a new note and in the toolbar below long-press the audio note tool (which you previously used for adding audio notes). You will notice a new icon (mic in a speech bubble) popping out. Select it and the audio tool icon will be replaced with it. Once you are ready to take a note, tap the new speech-to-text icon and start talking. The tool promises to detect the words and auto-fill the text description of your note or the title depending on where the typing pointer is set. This also appends the recorded audio to the note for further reference.

evernote-android-speech-to-text

However, like any other app that uses the speech to text feature, Evernote (for Android) also has serious limitations regarding the pronunciations it can interpret. As you can see from the screenshot above, the words I exactly uttered for the title and description are “Hello this is awesome” and “You can now dictate to take notes with Evernote for Android“. I do not possess a perfect news-reading accent but I can speak words that are easily comprehensible for any average literate. Considering that fact, the note taking accuracy for the app is impressive.

However, the introduction of the feature is quite relevant to the context of the app. The newly added feature is quite a help if you are someone who need to take notes now and then. No matter how handy your phone’s keyboard is or how big the screen is, someone taking dictations for you is always a relief.

evernote-for-android-widgets

Apart from the improvements made in the main app the Evernote homescreen widget for Android also got updated with new customize-able skins and widget elements. You can get them here. The updates were meant for the ICS (Android 4) phones although it worked fine for my Gingerbread device too.

Evernote Clearly Combines Distraction Free Reading And Web Clipping In Google Chrome

The web is not as beautiful, as it was 10 years back.

It is certainly rich in information but no longer beautiful, thanks to all those widgets, advertisements, plugins and social media buttons plastered across each and every website you come across.

Organizing information is another big, big problem. Bookmarking is so 2007, it just doesn’t work anymore. Reading and accumulating information gets really troublesome, when you are running sort of time and hurrying through the finer details of a story.

Evernote’s Clearly changes all this.

Clearly (nice name) provides a simple way to read only the text version of a webpage, right inside Google Chrome. No advertisements, no banners, no buttons just the content, you and your browser. Following is an example of how clear a webpage becomes, once you hit the magical Clearlybutton:

evernote-clearly

 

Clearly comes with three preset themes to choose from, so if you are fond of reading articles on dark backgrounds and green text, you can always create your customized reading environment. The advantage of turning a webpage into its text only version is that you can read a lot faster, without getting distracted by nearby ads. Furthermore, it is super easy to copy excerpts, scroll, use the real meatand be done with it.

There are tons of other distraction free reading tools out there but Clearly has a unique offering. You can clip an article directly to one of your Evernote notebooks, or assign a unique tag to it. That way, the URL of the webpage is saved to your Evernote account, which can later be synched with the desktop client. The benefit here is that you can quickly bookmark important stories without getting lost among a pile of 2 dozen news items.

If you launch Clearly on a multi-page article, it will automatically turn it into a single page, so you can read the entire story at one place without having to click, click and click ….. all the way to the 10th page.

As of now, Clearly supports only Google Chrome while extensions for other browsers is a work in progress. Clearly wont let you save images or files but it is indeed a better alternative of Readability. Watch the following video to see Clearly in action:

Skitch for Android Gets New Features!

Earlier, it was announced that Evernote acquired Skitch and was making it freely available to everyone. Today, the Evernote Blog announced some great new features for Skitch. In case you are unfamiliar with the two, Evernote, is one of the best cross-platform note taking applications available. Skitch is a simple to use annotation application that was originally just for the Mac, but since its acquisition by Evernote, is available for Android phones as well.

One of the cool features of Skitch, is the ability to take a photo on your Android phone, annotate it, and then publish it to a note in Evernote. It already had some great features but it lacked one real handy feature, the ability to crop. Today’s update changes all of that. Let’s say you have a picture on your phone that you would like to attach to a note, but you would only like part of that picture to show. You can open that picture in Skitch and tap the “Crop” button which surround the picture with a dotted rectangle. See the picture below. The red arrow points to the new “Crop” button. The center image in the picture shows you what it looks like when you click the “Crop” button. Once you have your picture cropped the way you like it, you can click the elephant symbol in the upper right corner and it will be sent to Evernote.

Skitch Crop
Courtesy of Evernote Blog

You’ve always had the ability to draw freehand on top of a picture using Skitch, however, today’s blog post announced some improvements. They have made improvements to how the app tracks your finger movements which in turn is supposed to return smoother lines. I thought that I would give this a try. Below you can see two images of hearts that I drew on my phone. The first image is in the older version of Skitch.

Old Version of Skitch

The second image is in the new version of Skitch.

New Version of SkitchAs you can tell, neither is a Picasso, but that is my fault. You will notice, however, the lines on the second picture are smoother. I would say this is a definite improvement.

I look forward to seeing more come out of this partnership with Evernote and Skitch. This seems like a combination that can work very well. I envision a scenario where the boss has written a million things on a white board and you want to be able to remember it, so you pull out your phone, take a picture of it, and send it to Evernote. Then you open it in Skitch and annotate the picture with arrows and highlight the important stuff. Evernote makes it all searchable. Now you have a well documented meeting.

What about you? What cool ideas can you come up with for these two applications? Would you use it mostly for fun or would you use it for business? As always, your comments are welcome.

HTC Phones To Come With 5GB Of Dropbox Free Storage Space

Dropbox and Evernote are two services, which I cannot live without. If you have not yet tried or started using these services regularly, I highly recommend you to do so.

HTC

Now, HTC has confirmed to the folks over at Pocket-Lint that all their Sense 3.5 based handsets, including the recently announced Rhyme, will come with free 5GB of Dropbox storage space. Hopefully, HTC will also tightly integrate the service with their Sense UI, and include some nifty features like automatically backing up your personal data including your clicked pictures.

Normally, Dropbox users get 2GB of free space when they sign-up for the service, but HTC users will get 5GB of free space with their new Sense 3.5 UI based phone. For additional space, Dropbox owners can use their referral system or directly get more space by paying for it.

While, there are other cloud based storage services from other giants like Microsoft’s SkyDrive,   and Apple’s iCloud, none of these services comes close to Dropbox. SkyDrive offers 25GB of free space, but does not have a dedicated Android app.

Evernote: Forever and Everywhere

A few days back I interviewed Phil Libin, CEO of Evernote. We talked about Evernote’s roadmap and vision forward. Phil shared his thoughts on the competition and the progression of the app to a platform with additional, related services.

  • Funding: Evernote received $20 million in October 2010 in first round of funding and another $50 million in July this year.
  • Profitability:   Evernote achieved gross-margin profitability very early on, about two years ago. Six months back, the company got even on cash flow. However, Phil shared that they will probably go in red again in cash as they hire more people and look forward to buy few companies. The latter made sense soon after the interview with the Skitch acquisition.
  • Users: Evernote announced that they’ve crossed   the 10 million users mark in June 2011. During the conversation, Phil specified that they are past 12.5 million now and are growing by about a million users each month!
  • Competition: Phil mentioned that Evernote does not look at the competition in users of  similar products like Microsoft OneNote, but the pen-and-paper users. While 10 million users use Evernote, there are another 7 billion who aren’t using the same. Since Evernote follows a freemium model, other products cannot beat Evernote on price, but only on quality and features.

Source: I Love Windows Phone

Evernote for Android Updated with Skitch Integration and More

Evernote is arguably the best note-taking application available for all the platforms on desktop and on phone as well as on the Web. It allows individuals to capture, find, and interact with their memories. Evernote has announced a few new features and capabilities as part of an Android update (3.2). Apart from some useful UX changes, there are some great new feature additions too.

Skitch Integration

Skitch on Evernote for AndroidEvernote recently acquired the popular annotaion app: Skitch. This update is the first version of Evernote to showcase the  technology as part of Evernote. When you create a note or edit an existing one, you’ll see Skitch’s heart logo in the toolbar. If you have Skitch installed, you’ll be taken into Skitch and in Skitch, you can draw and doodle, then send your sketch into Evernote by tapping the elephant icon in the top right.

Offline Search

You can now search within your Evernote account when you don’t have a network connection. In the past, you were able to access certain notes offline, but searching for notes wasn’t possible. While Premium users can take entire notebooks offline and search within them, free users can only search within notes that they viewed or created on their Android device. The Premium users will also have the ability to search within their PDFs while offline.

Slideshow View for images

The latest update features a dedicated image viewing mode: Slideshow View. Within a note, tap on an image, photo or something you marked up in Skitch to view it full-screen on a black background. Swipe left and right to view all the other images in that note. If your note contains an image and nothing else, then it will automatically open in Slideshow View.

Now Attach Any File To Your Evernote Notebooks

evernote-logoAnyone who makes a full time living by writing for the web knows the importance and value of a cross platform note taking application. I have been following the Write it downphilosophy for years and Evernote has been my best friend ever since.

Whether I am scrolling through my RSS reader or writing something, I always use Evernote to quickly jot down ideas, notes, deadlines and reminders. The best thing with Evernote is that I can attach videos, images and links to my notes from any computer or from my Android, so this helps me stay focused on the work I am currently doing and refer to an earlier note later.

The good news for Evernote users is that now you can now upload and attach almost any file type to your Evernote notebooks. Previously, Evernote only allowed PDF, images, text and audio attachments in your notebooks but the company has lifted this restriction recently. Now you can upload almost any file type to your Evernote account, which may include ZIP files, PSD templates, FLV videos and so on.

evernote-file-types

There are two advantages of this new enhancement. First, all your files remain accessible from a single and visually searchable location. No longer you have to find an old email attachment from your ever expanding inbox or pull out your external hard drive, just to find a very old document. Whenever you receive something that you think you may need later, it’s a good idea to quickly open your Evernote desktop client, write down a small note and upload the file as an attachment. 2 years later, you can find the same file from your online Evernote account, so it doesn’t matter whether you have shifted to a new office or your computer has been replaced during that time.

And since you have the ability to attach a custom text note to the file attachment, you would probably have more information and data to start with. This is far better than file sync services like Dropbox, which will sync only the file but not any custom note you may want to attach to the file.

Smartphone and mobile users can use this same feature to upload podcasts, audio recordings and videos to their Evernote notebooks, directly from their phones. This is very useful when you are attending a meeting and want a central location to archive text notes and upload files or attachments to the same note you wrote just a few minutes back. And since every notebook in Evernote can be shared with anyone, you can share a complete project with your colleagues without having to separately send the files as email attachments. Nice!

Please note that Evernote has only lifted the restriction for file types and the older restrictions for file size still hold good. Free users can make a single note of up to 25MB in size and can upload up to 60MBs of new stuff every month, while Premium users can make a single note of up to 50MB and can upload up to 1GB of new stuff every month.

Keep it Forever Using Evernote’s Web Clipper

Have you ever had the frustration of finding a fantastic article on the internet, only to come back a few days later and find that it is no longer there? If so, I have a great tip for you! Download Evernote’s “Web Clipper” add on for your browser and never lose that article again. If you are not familiar with Evernote, let me describe it for you in a nutshell; it is platform- and device-independent software that allows you to take notes, create lists, capture photos, and, for the purposes of this article, capture whole web pages, storing them in a personal electronic notebook. Many articles have been written already on this site about its features so feel free to search the term Evernote in our search bar. You can also visit their website at Evernote.com.

To install the Evernote “Web Clipper”, go to evernote.com and click the “Downloads” link on the main page. Below, you will see a picture of the Evernote main page with a pointer to the link.

Evernote Downloads Link

When you click the “Downloads” link on the main page, you will be taken to a page with different downloads. Find the option that says “Web Clipper” and click it. In the picture below, you will notice that Evernote detected the browser that I was using, and gave me the appropriate extension.

Chrome Extension

One you install the appropriate extension, or add on, for your browser, you will notice a new icon in your browser’s toolbar that looks like a green square with an elephant’s head in it. Now you are ready to do some clipping! Let’s say you find a great article on Techie Buzz that you would love to keep handy. Simply navigate to the page and click the Evernote logo in your browser window. Evernote will prompt you to login. Below, you will see a picture of the dialog box with the different options afforded you.

Clip Options

As you can see from the picture above, you have several options from which to choose. The first line that you see shows the title of the web page you are looking at. Second, you have the option to pick which notebook you would like your web clipping to be put in. The last two lines allow you to put tags for searching and a description. You will see a large button at the bottom of the box that gives you the option to clip the article, the full page, or just the URL of the page. In this example I chose “Clip full page”. When you have everything set up just the way you want it, click the large green “Clip article” button.

Now you have a permanent copy of that web page stored in a note. See the picture below. I clipped an article that I previously wrote for Techie Buzz. I now have a fully functioning (links and all) copy of that whole page. How cool is that? I can even put my own notes on the page now. It is also full searchable in my Evernote application.

Clipped Page

Did I mention that you could start using Evernote’s features for FREE! Even if you decide to use the premium features, it is only $5 per month. I think this is a great bargain.  Evernote is a powerful tool and the “Web Clipper” is a great feature.  I could see this being great for gathering recipes, collaborating on a website design, keeping up with references for a paper, and much more.

How would you use this feature? I would love to hear your ideas and thoughts.

 

 

 

Evernote Introduces Note Links, Copy Notes; Now Link Your Notes from Other Notes

evernote_logoOne of my favorite all-device software Evernote has released a really awesome update. This update allows users to interlink notes inside other notes or software; copy link for multiple notes and also copy notes and paste it wherever you like.

The new Note Link feature will allow you to create a link for a particular note and then add it to any other software including Evernote itself. This new feature will dramatically improve how you create and maintain notes in future.

Evernote Link Notes

Take for example, you are doing a research for a party and want to create a list of recipes you want to cook. Now, you can create each recipe individually and then include it in your party planning note through note links. This will keep your party planning list clean and allow you to quickly access those recipes with the click of a link.  You can also use this feature to create a index of similar notes which want to refer to as part of your research. Note links can be accessed on Windows, Mac OS X, and .

Also Read: Encrypt and Password Protect Notes in Evernote

Another important new feature in the updated Evernote is the ability to copy notes and place them wherever you like. You can copy notes and create a new note or paste it another notebook and so on.

Evernote has also added several new features in this update which include:

  • Snippet View – Allows you to view notes as snippets and provide useful information without opening the notes
  • Note Browsing History – They have added back and forward buttons for easy navigation of recently browser notes
  • New Note Menu – Now has all the new note options
  • New exporting options for windows (windows only)
  • Drag and drop text and images inside a note to desktop or other notes (windows only)
  • Disable PDF Preview (windows only)

Overall these additional new features to Evernote makes the note-taking software a really useful one. You can download the latest version from the Evernote site or go to Help -> Check for updates to update to the latest version of Evernote.

For complete information and changes in this version, visit the Evernote blog.

Also Read:

Encrypt and Password Protect Your Notes in Evernote

I have come to love Evernote as a note-taking and idea collecting software. I have used it extensively for the past couple of years or more to store bits and pieces of information that has come in handy all through these years.

Evernote

I always had a problem with storing sensitive information in Evernote, because of the lack of security/password protection in the app. For example, if you login to the Evernote app and leave it open, anyone who has access to your PC or mobile device can view the notes and get access to your sensitive information.

Also Read:

In fact, anyone who has access to the local database storage file on your PC will be able to view those notes on another PC or installation. This is a scary proposition considering how much losing sensitive information could affect you.

Luckily, Evernote provides users with a very handy feature that allows them to encrypt part of their notes. Users can use it to encrypt sensitive text in their notes (It only works with text). To encrypt your notes in Evernote, follow the steps given below.