Evernote 10 Lost In The Digital Desert

evernote logo

I have been an Evernote user for eight or nine years and a premium subscriber for more years than I care to remember. It has always been my essential go-to service to make notes, keep all manner of documents and store reference information. Not so much a digital brain as a digital dustbin, sorry, filing cabinet. And all was well until some years ago.

Evernote started to lose direction and the top man Phil LIbin walked and there has been a succession of CEOs since. They have all promised to turn things around, but to be honest the service has floundered and wandered around like a lost tribe in a desert.
The company has launched its most recent incarnation with V10 and the much-vaunted Home front end. This is little more than a scratchpad to type notes and a coffee cup. Oh yes, and an option to create a series of desktop home widgets.
evernote 10 home screen
Don’t get excited, these are just notes. pinned notes, recently captured, notebooks, tags and shortcuts. As you can see from this graphic, the home widgets merely duplicate most of which is in the left-hand toolbar. As such it is nothing more than packaging over content.
So, what else is new in V10? The website lists:
  • Improved note editor. More control over headings and a standardized font selection means your notes will look the same everywhere.
  • New note button. Click the button to create a new text note, or click the arrow to quickly access templates.
  • Faster search. See real-time suggestions as you type and narrow your search results with filters.
  • Reimagined sketch. Use your mouse to draw and take handwritten notes.
  • Dark mode. Dark mode makes reading and writing easier on your eyes.

    Nothing there is particularly earth-shattering, but wow, a new, larger add note button. Revolutionary stuff!
    So, what has been left out:
    • App preferences
    • Export options other than ENEX
    • Audio note recording and playback
    • Quickswitcher (Ctrl+Q)
    • Published notebooks (Evernote Business)

    Back in the day, Evernote pushed the audio note and playback option as one of its key options. If I was a user with a stack of audio notes and I was no longer able to play these back, I would be more that a tad miffed.

    For me, the key issue is the second in the list. One of the most important things for me is to securely backup or export my notes, a task I carried out once a week religiously for years. This was a simple matter of choosing export all notes and it would churn away putting years of notes into the Evernote EXEX format. This is no longer available and can only be applied one note at a time.

    When I raised this on Twitter I got this response: “We haven’t built this feature into the new Evernote app. This is one of a handful of features we are still considering. Thanks for letting us know this feature is important to you. I will share this information with our product team.”

    As beta tester, when I raised this with a tech support chap, he just didn’t get what I was talking about. Furthermore, when I posted the same query on the closed beta forum, I got no response at all.

    My premium subscription is due to be renewed in April. I will not be renewing it. For the past few months I have been experimenting with Nimbus notes and I am impressed. Ironically, I am writing this death knell article on Nimbus Note and I wrote about the early days here. Nimbus imported all my Evernote data, not exactly in order, but a couple of hours in lockdown was constructively put to resolving that.

    It is difficult to put a finger on exactly when the rot started, but this latest version will not halt the decay and recline of a once-great service. As a great Chinese philosopher probably once said, Shit Happens.