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Memonic: A (Not So) Quiet Rival to Evernote and Springpad [App of the Week]

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I just confirmed with the CEO of Memonic that the crazy premium account deal ($3.33 Euro for 10,000 notes and 50GB storage) link works until the end of October. And it works for whomever, not just the Swiss/Germans. Translate the page from German and get it while it’s hot!

There’s been a lot of discussion on 40Tech about which is the best note-taking app. While the battle is generally between Springpad and Evernote, occasionally a new option steps in for a punch or two. This week’s contender has been watching, learning, and in many cases even improving upon the competition. I’d like to introduce you all to Memonic — there’s a reason it made App of the Week.

When it comes to note-taking apps, there are five key things to look for: how easy it is to get information into the app, organization and sharing features, overall usability, cross-platform possibilities, and personal preference. That last is a huge factor in user adoption. Depending on what you need your notes app to do, one or another may work better for you.

Evernote, for example, is well suited to those who just need a straight ahead, highly searchable portable filing cabinet. It can do many other things, true, such as be used for a GTD system, but portable (and searchable!) filing cabinet is what it does best. Springpad, on the other hand, is great for taking notes, but has this fantastic capacity for making certain types of notes “smart.” If you like to comparison shop, find good deals, or get value from what the people in your network are interested in, Springpad’s note-alerts system offers you something no other note-taking app can match.

Memonic doesn’t have the budget that Springpad or Evernote has. They’ve been bootstrapping their system for a while now, and when you consider that and then see what they’ve put together, I have no doubt you’ll be impressed. I was — and am. Just as Evernote and Springpad differ in their approach and target markets, Memonic has brought its own angle to the field: research and collaboration. Now, before the Evernote lovers start touting shared notebooks, and the Springpad-enamoured bring up the oh-so-very-cool Board, hear me out. Those are all excellent features — but if you want an app that makes it easy to share and organize notes on a project (or projects), easy to be notified when new notes and research snippets have arrived or been commented on, and ridiculously simple to gather information in the first place, then Memonic is the clear choice. Here’s why:

 

Groups

Memonic can be used as a central collaboration notebook for research, planning, and discussions on projects. You can create a group, invite a few people, and then get to work. The group gets its own page with its own activity feed, too, which makes it simple to be notified and to keep an eye on progress.

If you run into the ever-present problem of working with someone who doesn’t want to use the service, sharing notes with people outside of Memonic is easy, too. You can share via Facebook, Twitter, email, or a link, RSS feeds, and you can even embed notes on web pages — which is a nice touch.

Share Memonic Notes on Facebook, Twitter, Email, or Embed in a Web Page | 40Tech

 

The Dashboard

Memonic’s group and contacts features are fully realized with the feed-like Dashboard. The Dashboard not only shows you a quick clip of everything you’ve posted recently, but it also shows the public posts of your contacts — which can be opened and read in full right from the dashboard itself. See something you like? Copy it to your own collection of notes, or share it with others via email, link, Facebook, or Twitter (or even copy it to Word) with just a few clicks.

Memonic Dashboard | One of the Best Note Taking Apps | 40Tech

 

The Best Clipper I’ve Come Across

I love the Evernote Web Clipper, and I like the Springpad Clipper even better, but both can get a bit irritating if you’re in a hurry. Memonic’s clipper does away with the click and drag highlighting and breaks each section of content on a page into regions that can be selected with a single click. You can do multiple parts of the page, or even the entire page in one go. When you’re doing a lot of web research, this speeds up the process immensely.

Memonic Clipper is the Best Web Clipper in the Business | 40Tech

Quick content selection isn’t the only reason the Memonic clipper stands out over the others. The other big one is Gathering Mode, which is a little toggle switch that allows you to lock in your settings for where you want to put your notes — folder, privacy level — and save you the trouble of having to re-establish those settings for every single clipping. It’s awesome — and I have no idea why other clippers don’t do the same. The only thing I would like to see added to Gathering Mode is the ability to lock in tags, as well.

Finally, the Memonic clipper has a variety of other useful modes that can replace a number of other services with just this one:

  • Read Later mode that allows you to grab entire pages
  • Bookmark mode (which provides a nice snippet description as well)
  • Screenshot mode that attaches an image of the visible browser area
  • Write a note (to get to the note taking without even opening the service)

Memonic Web Clipper Can Replace Read It Later, Bookmarking Apps | 40Tech

The web clipper works with all major browsers — and even works by bookmarklet with Safari for iPad. If that isn’t enough, there is also a clipper for Windows that allows you to clip content outside of the browser.

 

Clean and Simple Design — Across all Platforms

Memonic focuses on the minimal. The way notes are displayed in expandable windows that are neatly separated from one another is easy on the eyes and easy to use. The look and feel is distinctly uncluttered, and is fairly persistent across all versions of the app. And you can get Memonic pretty much anywhere: Windows and Mac desktop apps, iPhone, iPad, Android devices, and the web app for everything else. Mobile versions don’t have the Dashboard, unfortunately, but everything else you could want is there, both online and off.

 

Crazy Integrations

For a small operation, Memonic is throwing around some important integrations, especially for the business set. Here’s just a few: Salesforce, SugarCRM, Confluence, Sharepoint — and guess what… they are planning to integrate with Evernote! That may seem a bit weird, but soon, all those who can’t bear to walk away from Evernote, but love the power of the Memonic clipper, will be able to use the super-awesome clipper to save content directly to their Evernote accounts. A nice, tidy little bit of genius on the part of Memonic, if you ask me.

Memonic Clipper Integrates with Evernote | 40Tech

If, for some strange reason, you need more than the promise of Evernote integration, well, Memonic also integrates a save button into Facebook so you can save your favourite photos, status updates, and wall posts. Want more? How about Google Reader integration so you can clip your favourite posts while reading your feeds? How’s that tickle you?

More ways to Use Memonic | Save Facebook, Google Reader Posts | 40Tech

 

Memonic’s co-founder, Dorian Selz, and the rest of the team have worked their butts off on a bootstrap budget to put together one of the most robust note-taking apps I’ve ever come across — a definite rival for Evernote and Springpad if it gets the notice it deserves. The only issue I personally have with Memonic is that their free version is limited to only 100 notes and doesn’t have Gathering Mode. To get the full service, though, only costs $28/year — which isn’t bad considering Evernote premium is $45/per year — and Memonic doesn’t have any advertising to clutter up your experience. If you do a lot of research on your own, or as part of a student or business team, give Memonic a try — you just might love it. And there are discounts for students, too.

What do you think of Memonic?

 

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About Bobby Travis

Bobby isn't 40-something, but is a strong supporter of the Grown-up Geek kind. He's a loving husband and father first, but is also a freelance writer, productivity nut, operatically trained singer, and (not-so) closet geek. Check out his random thoughts, wackiness, and Instagram pics on Tumblr, Twitter, or Google+-- or just head over to bobby-travis.com.

35 Responses to Memonic: A (Not So) Quiet Rival to Evernote and Springpad [App of the Week]

  1. Bobby – great post (as always)!! You’ve got a lot of great selling points here. I think for those folks whose primary focus is web clipping and is a “must have”, then this is a great app.

    Though, I will add that there are ways to do some of the things you talked about. For instance, on a PC, if you highlight an excerpt on a web page (or anywhere on any application) and hit WIN+A, it’ll instantly clip that portion you’ve highlighted into Evernote. In addition, if you hit WIN+PrntScrn you can instantly clip a screenshot of the screen. This makes it incredibly easy for me when I do need to do this, to just clip and go. Then, I can just clip the paperclip in Evernote to share the link.

    But, I do see some of the advantages you’ve discussed. From a strategic and competitive standpoint, the company is smart to position themselves in such a way that they’re saying they complement nicely with Evernote in an effort to bolster their strengths in a specific area that they’ve identified to be a slight weakness with Evernote.

    Cheers and great job as always!

    • Thanks Daniel!

      It’s not so much that Evernote can’t clip — I use the desktop clipper all the time — but the Memonic clipper is just easier to use. It’s faster, more efficient, and more effective, especially when doing a lot of web research.

      Just like Springpad and EN have their strengths that appeal to particular people — which you highlight so well on your own blog — Memonic is extremely well suited to researchers and team collaborations, and I would recommend it to anyone who is either new to the note-app world, or who finds that other apps don’t quite do it for them in that regard.

      And yeah, I think that the future integration with EN via the Memonic clipper is extremely clever, as it allows people to potentially use both while always keeping Memonic relevant.

  2. You get a livelong premium account for 3,30€ if you register via this link (German):
    http://www.computerbild.de/aktion/memonic

    and enter this password:
    zd-8989-qj

    not shure whether that works outside Germany/Switzerland

    • Thanks for the tip, Erik! Looks like you get up to 10,000 notes and 50GB of storage. No idea if it will work outside of Germany/Switzerland as you say.

      For those worried about potential “too good to be true” malware, the link is good and resolves to a Memonic site sub-page. If anyone tries it out, I’d love to hear about it!

  3. Bobby,
    I looked at the site and it is something I could really use. What I don’t see, is any verification if the site is secure – after log in. When I sign in, I see https, but not after. I checked the FAQ’s but don’t see any discussion about it.
    I will pay for a subscription for this site as it is awesome, but only if it my information is secure.
    Thanks for the great articles.
    Gayle

    • Hi Gayle, glad you enjoyed the articles! :D

      I have no problems with https on my end. I do notice that, when I open up some notes, I’ll get the notice that there are some insecure items on the page, but that is most often with website clippings and due to their various HTML components. If you are having issues, you might want to try tech support — they seem like nice folks.

  4. I’m keen to try out the Evernote integration. I registered for the Computerbild promotion – 3,33 Euro seem to be a reasonable investion.

    We’ll see…

  5. Bobby,
    Was Eric able to subscribe for the premium subscription? How much is 3.33 euro converted into american money?
    Could be a great deal.

    Gayle

    • Hi Gayle — no idea about Eric, but I just confirmed with the CEO that the crazy premium account deal ($3.33 Euro for 10,000 notes and 50GB storage) link works until the end of October. And it works for whomever, not just the Swiss/Germans.

    • Hi Tobias. 3.33€ is about 4.5$.
      I subscribed for the premium account but did not actually use it yet. I’m quite happy with Evernote right now and don’t see the need to switch.
      I’ll let you know when i change my mind.

      • I meant Gayle, not Tobias.
        (Why isn’t it possible to edit or at least delete comments?)

      • One of the drawbacks of using straight ahead WordPress comments, I’m afraid. Keeps the site all snappy though. You should see the blog comment service shoot-out that Evan did (it’s still in the popular posts on the sidebar, I think) — he put all the fancy comments services through the ringer.

  6. I love Memonic – but with the understanding that it will continue to be developed regularly, of course. It is still young and it shows at times.

    As far as things I would like to see:

    Most important to me:
    * Audio Notes in the Mobile Apps (they said this is coming)
    * Default folders for various web clipping. That is, Bookmark clippings should default into a Bookmark folder. Same for Read Later and Screenshots. I’d also like to see a default Notes folder since many of the notes I take there are just quick thoughts without a home. I want them on one “Quick Notes” folder so I can go through them later and probably delete many of them. I don’t want to organize while I am clipping. The clipping is awesome so far, but the next logical step is default folders for each kind of clipping.

    Would be nice:
    * More backgrounds to choose from, maybe even custom ones
    * OCR so that it could truly and totally replace Evernote for me.

    I am giving it a try now. If they add these things I will be sold. I like Evernote but I don’t care for the UI on either the desktop or the IOS devices. It is also a bit glitchy and slow – especially the desktop client. Springpad is nice but has too many features I am not interested in. Memonic could be perfect for me if they add those features and keep refining the app.

    Great blog, BTW.

  7. It actually isn’t true that you can add unlimited notes in Evernote.

    Even though Evernote says so at https://www.evernote.com/about/premium/, Evernote support tells me that is a “typo”.

    All accounts are restricted to an absolute maximum of 100,000 notes. Still a lot. But not by any means “unlimited.”

    I requested they correct it months and months ago, because it’s false advertising, but they still haven’t taken any action on it.

    doug

  8. I am fascinating by memonic but no one else has had a problem with this site being a German site? I have my browser translating pages but it takes some time to load and I believe some friends (whom I’d want to collaborate with) will be skeptical to join a foreign site. Do they plan on having an English site soon or am I missing something?

    • Hi DC. I haven’t had a problem accessing the English version of the site. Did you sign up via the promotional link from the comments? That leads to the German site. You should still be able to access the English one, though, and log in. Check your URL for any country or language codes, and see if you can remove them. Flush your cache, too.

      If the problem persists, contact their tech support.

    • If you go into your account section you can choose what language you want to use on memonic.
      I signed up just now and got the $3.33 deal. Memonic turned German on me right ater, but I was able to fix that in seconds :-)

  9. I am really impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Anyway keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to see a great blog like this one these days..

  10. Bobby, do you still use memonic and how do you like it compared to the more popular options (Evernote, new Springpad, Catch, …)? Just curious. I’ve been using it a lot this year, mostly to clip web pages, as it’s the very best of the lot at that. But, I haven’t found it all that compelling for anything else. And it’s occasionally slow, which is annoying. I might move to another service if their web clipping was tolerable.

    • I like Memonic, and I agree, their clipping functionality is excellent! I never really found room for it in my current workflow, though, as I’m happy with what I’ve already got going on, and the Evernote clipper saw some great improvements not long after I wrote the article. I still think its a great service, though, and I’m rooting for them — their bootstrapping the whole way and still bringing quality service. That could also explain the slowness. Maybe they experience the occasional server overload?

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  20. Bobby

    If you haven’t already you really need to check out Clipboard at http://www.clipboard.com. It is, I believe, a serious challenger to both Springpad and Evernote.

    I’d be interested in your thoughts.

  21. Another one very much worth looking at is Connotea (www.connotea.org).

    Whilst it is geared more towards researchers and scientists I believe it has a lot of merit for students and anyone really who does a lot of Internet research, clippings and note taking.

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