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Friday, April 25, 2008, 07:00 am PT (10:00 am ET)

Evernote for Mac, iPhone to make managing information overload easy


Easy Metadata Searching

Underneath the notebook listing are sections featuring disclosure triangles that open to reveal lists of options. Tags presents a listing of all the tags assigned on all entries. Clicking a tag does an immediate search for the items matching that tag. In addition to manually adding a tag to an entry, you can also select multiple items and drag them to a tag to assign them all that tag. Attributes allows you to do a similar search based on creation or modification dates; any item that contains pictures, audio, or handwritten ink; or by the item's source (whether emailed in, clipped from email, a web page, a mobile, or the desktop application).

At the end of the attributes section is a list of to do items. Any time a checkbox is added to a note, the item is tagged as a to do. The Completed, Not Completed, and All to do tags make it easy to pull up any notes with checkboxes in a given state.

Collectively, the tag, attribute date, contains, source, and to do selections allow you to rapidly find items based on a variety of metadata matching. Multiple items can be selected at once, creating a complex query without any effort. The definition of the search is presented below the toolbar (below). Once set up, the search can be saved or dismissed. Saved searches are presented at the bottom of the organizer panel.

Evernote


The Web Interface

The same features are presented online in the web version (below), although the client software offers the same kind of advantages that an email client has over a web email service. The beauty of the web version is that it's available anywhere on any public computer. It's even accessible from the iPhone, although it warns users that the mobile Safari is not yet among its recommended browsers (Safari 3, Firefox 2, and Internet Explorer 7).

Evernote


The Evernote Overview

Evernote for Mac is still in private beta, but is expected to make its official debut in the coming months. The application provides a useful assortment of search tools, intuitively designed in an interface consistent with other Leopard savvy apps. It also makes use of Core Animation to present attractive live sorting of item thumbnails, resulting in an "advanced note visualization" the Windows version currently lacks.

As just a standalone app, Evernote would have limited practical functionality, but tied into its web service with text recognition features, public notebook publishing options, and the ability to call up collections from any web browser, the entire package makes a really cool product that's easy to use and highly productive. Even better, the program and web service is free, with a paid premium service version planed for the future.

If you find yourself searching through bookmarks, photo albums, email, and text documents looking for the stuff you intended to remember, Evernote could be just the tool you need to organize your information overflow. The company has posted a demonstration YouTube video that covers the basics visually.