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Evernote & Pinterest just had a baby: Enter the new Springpad

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Springpad has long been compared to Internet note-taking sensation Evernote, but starting today Springpad will likely be compared to another darling of the startup world, visually oriented social network Pinterest. On Wednesday Springpad evolved into its third iteration, transforming the information capture service into a social networking engine. This social network, however, isn’t built around friends or relationships, but rather items of interest, lists or tasks.

Springpad essentially uses bookmarklets, browser extensions and its mobile and tablet apps to grab information off the Web for later viewing, but unlike other note-taking apps, Springpad tries to structure that information and add context. For instance, if you “spring” a review of a restaurant or a movie, the service will recognize the information for what is, adding to your notes information about opening hours and local box office show times as well as links to dinner reservation or ticket purchasing services. Users then store all of those items in individual notepads, which they can make public to the whole Web or keep as private files.

The new update allows users to share their notebooks with one another, publicly or privately, similar to collaboration features on Evernote. For instance, a family could share grocery or to-do lists among its members. A book club can keep a running list of reading ideas and cooks can trade recipe ideas. Users can share notebooks privately among friends, or they can make notebooks public, allowing any Springpad member to follow another’s particular interest. The feature is particular useful, since I might be fascinated by one member’s recipe collection, but have no desire to read his collections of religious or political essays. The tools allow me to selectively follow what I find interesting and filter out the rest. Here’s a video Springpad produced to highlight the new features:

Like Pinterest, Springpad relies heavily on images to represent the items and notebooks, leading to a stunning visually layout within the application. But according to co-founder and business development VP Jeff Janer, Springpad is adding many more layers of contextual information to make the service into a sophisticated social collaboration tool.

“We want to form active micro-communities that revolve around particular interests,” Janer said. “Pinterest is focused on inspiration that may lead to a transaction, but there’s not really any collaboration there.” While Janer isn’t dismissing inspiration – which has made Pinterest an overnight success – he said Springpad sees a lot more potential in inspiration-oriented networking than in simply driving customers to retailer Websites, though such transactions are a key part of Springpad’s business model as well.

A mixed bag of revenue

Like Pinterest, Springpad takes a little off the top from any transaction originating from its notebooks, whether it’s a CD from Amazon (s amzn) or a movie ticket from Fandango. But Janer said Springpad’s primary business model will be based on advertising and offers. With detailed information about each user’s interests, Springpad’s advertisers can tailor specific coupons, based on the exact items they have stored in their notebooks. If you have saved a specific Sony HD TV in a gadgets notebook, Sony could ship you a discount offer specifically for that TV, Janer said.

Springpad has added a few other features with the new update as well. It’s introduced natural language understanding features to its search and item creation bar. So typing “Call Jeff tomorrow” into the add item bar will automatically generate a reminder task, which is then automatically synced with Google Calendar. It’s also generating alerts, based on items in stored in notebooks. If you a add a movie trailer, it will send you a notice when the film is available in your area and later generate another note when its is released on DVD and Blu-ray.

Springpad is still a relatively small operation. It launched in 2008 with funding of $7 million, and has since grown to 3 million registered users and a staff of 17. Much of that growth has been fairly recent driven by its mobile apps.

22 Responses to “Evernote & Pinterest just had a baby: Enter the new Springpad”

  1. Love Springpad, but unfortunately, new release of Springpad this week=disaster! Added some OK features, but lost some great ones, such as no attached Notes – only “comments” that don’t allow graphics and font features – this both lost data for existing users that had graphical attached notes, as well as not allowing it in the future (just one example of things done away with that people used). Users still cannot see attached Files (Word, etc.) – they are “working on this.” Obviously no extensive testing of any kind was done for new release. They have fixed a few small issues and addressed a design issue, but still basically unusable as of today. See for all the fun!

  2. Have we reached our social app glut yet? We’re so detached from each other. The only socializing we do now is through apps. We play Words with Friends but when was the last time you sat down with family or friends to play a board game? We chat up a storm with one friend or another on Facebook but when was the last time we called someone to go to a movie? It’s a nice idea to collaborate on a project virtually through an app but when was the last time we met someone over coffee to brainstorm something creative? I guess there’s room for both but between Facebook,Twitter,Google+,Instagram,Pinterest,Path,Viddy,Words with Friends,Hanging with Friends,Draw Something…No wonder everyone’s staring at their phones everywhere. I signed up for Foursquare and a friend found me on there and now thankfully I know every time she goes to a restaurant or bar. I’m as guilty as the next guy though but I’m trying to keep things in balance. I would like more real friends and less virtual ones.

    • jeffjaner

      Very sorry that you’re having issues that your attached notes & links are not showing up. It’s a temporary issue. All of your attached notes are safe & sound, don’t worry! But, you should know that when they show up in the new Springpad, they will be comments.

  3. David Evans

    Decent app, I could tell they were working on this it in the office above mine (sloppy wifi security!) I used it for a while until the awesomeness of Evernote simply made me stop trying other competitors. The Evernote/Pinterest/Delicious combo option will be attractive to some people, the rest of us will use Evernote, Pinterest and Delicious, because they are purpose-built and stronger in their respective areas.

    I wish Evernote had better design, but at the same time Springpad is almost too “designer” if you know what I mean. Its like designers rule there, and other more important features (to me at least) are second-class. I could care less about rich multimedia display, I need a specific screenshot or a password or a url, asap, get out of my way and let me get my info and move on.

    I share stuff on Facebook, or I email it to a group. Sure Springpad is different, but is it worth a whole new web app to deal with? We’ll see.

  4. Steve Page

    SpringPad, its really a note taking app with sharing. SpringPad, we’ll make you do the same things over and over because every friend will want their own lists. OR am I missing something?

    • Hi Steve,

      Our new release let’s you share and save lots of things in addition to notes, including products, links, to-do lists, movies, recipes, places, and more. Collaboration isn’t required on your notebooks, but is a feature you can use when needed — like when you’re working on a group project or planning a trip with friends.

      Feel free to drop me a note if you’d like to chat more,

      Alison at Springpad
      [email protected]

    • jeffjaner

      We have many users who want to share and collaborate on their lists and notebooks – be it shopping lists with family members, trip and event planning with friends or project planning with co-workers