Blog Post

Evernote's New Hello And Food Apps Take Organizer To New Competitive Ground

Evernote has been one of the darlings of the app revolution, with a popular free service across multiple plaforms and used for all manner of quick note-taking, both audio and textual, which is then stored in the cloud for access anywhere. Now Evernote appears to be getting a little more sophisticated by spinning out new services that offer an enhanced version of that note-taking ability, designed around specific subject areas, with the launch of two new free iPhone apps, Food and Hello.

The Food app is essentially designed like a diary or blog template, and lets users create entries based around specific meals. They can upload pictures, get their locations automatically detected, and write down meal descriptions and recipes as part of the entry. All these elements can be left for your own private perusal, either through Evernote’s web app or through its apps; and they can also be shared via Facebook, Twitter and email.

Meanwhile, Evernote Hello works as a kind of interactive, dynamic Rolodex: it lets you record people’s faces, names and associations, as well as more basic contact details like email and phone numbers — with a quirky suggestion to allow people to photograph themselves with your phone if you trust them enough. If you get email addresses, then your details automatically get sent to them. The contacts you enter in Evernote Hello get stored in a database that you can then use to enhance with further meetings with those people (like a Salesforce service for the masses).

One drawback that I can see right away is that it’s not clear whether any of that information synchronises with your contact book on the phone itself; it looks like potentially you might end up with duplicate entries on your device for some people, as you do with other social networking apps.

Another drawback that applies to both of these apps is that they sound a lot like the food and productivity apps on the market today, which could make takeup challenging for the company.

On the plus side, what sets these apart is how Evernote will be combining their functionality to create something a little more powerful: the idea, it seems, is that someone using Evernote Hello might also be the kind of person who would open Evernote Food to record a meal and maybe also take a few notes using the main Evernote app. Evernote then takes these encounters are merges them in a kind of timeline to let users add more context to, say, a particular meeting with a person.

Used together, the apps make for a compelling — and, in this world of me-too apps, a more unique — approach to the idea of recording one’s life in a way that is more private, and in some respects more useful than, say, via Facebook, Twitter or Path.

In June 2011, Evernote announced that it had 10 million users signed up to its services, which gives it a respectable base from which to build out these new products. It will be worth watching whether Evernote picks up more users as a result of Food and Hello, and whether this is a sign of more vertical apps to come. As both apps are currently free, it will also be worth watching how Evernote eventually gets around to monetizing the offerings.