Evernote brings chat and news stories to its note

At the company's developer conference, Evernote adds a few new features to its note-taking system, including chat and contextual connections.


James Martin/CNET

SAN FRANCISCO -- Today at Evernote's Developer conference, company CEO Phil Libin unveiled a few new features for the collaborative note-taking system. The two biggest are Work Chat and Context, and are both designed to make the system easier to use and, more importantly, make it more valuable to business users who pay $10 per month for the service.


With Work Chat, you can chat in real-time within Evernote, with the people you work with inside the system, or anyone else who uses Evernote. Libin says this has been the most requested feature from users.


You can share messages, links, notes and even complete notebooks in chat. You can also see when multiple people are looking at the same note at the same time, and then chat with them about that note. The idea is that instead of using an outside chat client, you can simply communicate inside Evernote without leaving the system. Work Chat will be available on Android, iOS, Mac and Windows in late 2014.


Evernote

The other major feature announced is called Context, and it automatically shows you information that's relevant to what you're writing or saving in Evernote. That information can include past notes you've saved, items that your collaborators have saved, and even news stories from outlets including The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, TechCrunch and Inc. Magazine. You can also see professional listings from LinkedIn if you type someone's name. Evernote Business members will also get information from Factiva, a division of Dow Jones. You'll start to see Context on Android, iOS, Mac and Windows later this year.


Libin also showed off Scannable, a new standalone app that uses your phone camera to scan of a piece of paper, business card or receipt, and transform that into a new note. With the app open, you don't even need to press the camera shutter, the camera just recognizes a piece of paper and captures it. Evernote's existing app has a similar feature, but with Scannable, it's supposed to be a much faster and easier process. It also works with the ScanSnap Evernote Edition. The app is coming to iOS in the next few months. Evernote is also releasing a redesigned Penultimate handwriting app for iOS, also coming soon.


Last, but not least, Evernote is simplifying its web client, with an ultra-clean design that disappears when you're writing. It's as minimal as possible, without sacrificing features. Libin says it's designed for news users who don't want to be overwhelmed, or anyone who just wants to jot down a quick note wherever they are. The design is very appealing, and I hope the company incorporates some elements of it into its desktop clients. It's available today, and you can opt-in to use it, or stick with the older view if you chose.


For the full run-down of everything that was announced at Evernote's Developer conference, head over to Evernote's blog.


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