Exclusive: Q&A with Evernote Team

5th May, 2023

Reading time: 7 minutes

Evernote - 2023 Update - Bending Spoons - AI

Big Changes at Evernote

Bending Spoons acquired Evernote officially in January 2023, after many months of the deal passing through the correct process and procedures.

Zoom forward 2 months, Evernote introduces many new AI features, reliability improvements and a whole new pricing. We scored a text interview with the Evernote team to ask them the questions we believe will help you understand the future of Evernote further.

This was conducted with Federico Simionato, Product Lead at Evernote.

A Chat with Evernote's Team

We shared the following questions to the Evernote team to ask them about what they seek to improve, how they view Evernote and a window into what's next. Thanks to the Bending Spoons and Evernote team for granting this interview.

Question 1: Congrats on Evernote AI, can you give a quick summary to those keeping updated with the Evernote journey?

We recently announced two upcoming Evernote AI features.

The first is AI Note Cleanup, which will be available in the next couple of weeks. This feature will transform messy and disorganized notes into clear and well-formatted ones that you can easily refer back to or share with others. It automatically fixes typos, improves capitalization and punctuation, and adds structure to give notes much better clarity and readability. Every user will have a month of access to try it out before the feature becomes available to paid subscribers only. The second AI feature, AI Search, will be released later in the year.

With it, you can ask Evernote questions using natural language and receive an instant answer based on the content of your notes. Search is one of the features Evernote users appreciate the most, so the possibility of improving it in such a massive way is incredibly exciting. It's one step further in the direction of Evernote being "an extension of your brain".

Question 2: With Bending Spoons at the helm, how much will Evernote be a player in the AI software evolution?

At Bending Spoons, we’re constantly looking at how we can leverage AI to bring customers the greatest amount of value across all our apps, and Evernote is no exception.

We have a list of over 50 ideas for how to apply AI in Evernote. While some may not be sufficiently useful or may be currently unattainable due to technological limitations, there are others that hold the potential to be game-changing, and we’ll prioritize their development. But we don’t have any intention of pivoting Evernote into an AI-only product, nor of adding flashy features that don’t ultimately address real user pain points.

Our goal is to be selective in the AI features we choose to develop, making sure we only introduce features that we’re confident can help Evernote customers in the most meaningful ways. And, once we identify those features, we intend to build an outstanding user experience around them.

Question 3: How do you see your 2023 roadmap, will you give any hints to future updates?

Bending Spoons only took the reins a few short months ago, so not everything is set in stone yet. But we have our main priorities set, which we don't expect to change.

The first priority is to improve Evernote’s core infrastructure, reliability, and performance. To do this, we’re focusing the vast majority of our engineering firepower on implementing these improvements, and we expect it to stay like this for several months until we believe the fundamentals of Evernote are impeccable.

Speaking of the fundamentals, we’re already planning our next major sync update, this time focusing on metadata. Currently, if you have the same note on multiple devices, the Real-Time Editing (RTE) technology will instantly render each keystroke you type across those devices. However, today when you create a new note on one device, it still takes a while to appear on the others, or on someone else’s device if you choose to share the note. There’s already a huge effort underway to solve this, and we intend to ship this metadata sync improvement in a few months.

Finally, we’re also looking to release a handful of new features—like AI Note Cleanup, AI search, and the recently released Real-Time Editing feature—which we believe to be exceptionally powerful and useful to our customers.

Diving a little bit deeper into the new features in our roadmap, we see RTE and improved sync as the most important thing we'll release in the first half of the year. As for the AI features: AI Note Cleanup is a great example of how we leverage AI to solve common pain points, and we’re delighted to roll it out imminently. AI Search is a huge technical challenge, but the value it will bring to Evernote customers is enormous. It’s going to massively improve how you interact with the content of your notes. We’re dedicating a lot of resources to the effort, and can’t wait to bring it to everyone.

So, to summarize, the 2023 roadmap will focus on quality over quantity. We aim to release a small number of new, high-value features while optimizing Evernote’s underlying technology to make it faster and more reliable than ever before.

Question 4: Millions use Evernote, millions before too. What would you say to someone looking to come back to Evernote?

I prefer to show, not tell. A better product is a surefire way to convince users to come back—certainly, it will be more convincing than anything I say! And the product is going to be faster, more reliable, and more useful for users than ever before. I have a lot of faith in this approach because it aligns with my Evernote user journey. I created my personal Evernote account over a decade ago but eventually stopped using it as my needs evolved. Then, last year, my path brought me back to Evernote and I was delighted to see all the amazing product improvements that the team had shipped over the years. Now, it’s an integral part of my daily life once again. That’s the same experience I hope to give other returning users.

Question 5: Who do you see as competitive applications in the productivity market?

In the productivity market, there are several high-quality solutions tailored to fit diverse needs. All the top competitors are providing their own unique spin: OneNote serves a specific use case really well, as do Notion, Obsidian, and all the others.

I think, for someone looking for a feature-rich, easy-to-use extension of their brain, Evernote is unparalleled. And as we improve it in terms of speed, stability, features, and user experience, this will be increasingly apparent.

Question 6: With the big price change for many, do you seek to evolve the product fastest and more in-depth?

Yes, the ability to invest more in innovation and product improvements was a large reason we decided to introduce the recent price changes. We listen closely to our online community and empathize with those who feel that Evernote is now too expensive for them. My message to them would be that we’re committed to working hard on the product for the long term, and believe that in time they’ll get far greater value from Evernote than the price they pay for it.

It’s encouraging that the numbers indicate the vast majority of Evernote customers are supportive of our plans, and we’re excited to make Evernote a better and better investment for these customers for many years to come.

Question 7: What is a feature that you think the community have been asking for some time, that you would like to eventually address?

While it’s not necessarily a feature, sync has been the biggest pain point for quite some time.

With the RTE sync already live and the improved metadata sync coming in a few months, the Evernote experience is going to be far smoother, faster, and more reliable. So the number one thing the community has asked for is already being addressed. A few other highly-requested features and updates that come to mind are a new note hierarchy, commenting, markdown import, and adding Outlook integration to our calendar feature. I’m really excited about the idea of reimagining note hierarchy. The way notes are currently organized is quite complex and we already have some ideas on how to make it simultaneously simpler and more powerful.

I also see a lot of value in introducing commenting, as it would be a natural complement to the collaborative nature of RTE—certainly, my team would love to have it as part of our everyday workflow.

Over the coming months, we’ll evaluate all these features and build them into our roadmap where doing so makes sense.

On Tool Finder, you can now explore all types of productivity tools including Evernote and a wide variety of note-taking tools. If you want to see whether Evernote is the right match:

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