Could Google be launching a competitor to Evernote and Springpad? Google scrapped its Notebooks app quite some time ago, but according to a story on the Verge yesterday, it looks like the company might be ready to get back into the note taking app business. Would you give it a try?
I’m sure that Google will insert many hooks into its other services, that will make the app very tempting. Still, there are a couple of reasons that I probably won’t be leaving Evernote anytime soon. Read more
The Springpad overhaul that dropped in April led to some strong reactions from a significant portion of its userbase — but don’t count them out! I have it on good authority that they are still experiencing significant growth, and are still working toward bringing you the smartest, most actionable notebook app around. Their latest venture? Facebook integration — don’t worry, haters, it’s optional! — that allows you to turn the movies, TV shows, books, music, and places you “like” into searchable, organized notebooks. The information is then enhanced by services like Rotten Tomatoes, OpenTable, etc., and you can even showcase your favourites by sharing them back to your Facebook Timeline.
The new integration is a good move for Springpad (and much more focused than their last attempt at Facebook integration), as it makes an effort to enhance the experience of the social network juggernaut, as opposed to trying to compete against it. Twitter integration like this could be in the pipeline for Springpad, as well.
Springpad Facebook integration highlights:
New users who sign-up for Springpad through Facebook can choose to have “likes” automatically imported and categorized into Springpad notebooks
Springpad enhances “likes” with actionable information such as Rotten Tomatoes movie reviews and trailers, price comparisons, maps, product availability alerts, OpenTable reservation links, Foursquare tips and more
Springpad users can choose to share notebooks or individual items to their Facebook timeline
Posts to your Facebook timeline (either individual items or entire notebooks) are organized under the Springpad header
Facebook likes are now discoverable and actionable
Springpad is now available in the Facebook App Center
Currently, all items that you share back to your Facebook Timeline are public. This is in keeping with how Facebook does things, as well as with Springpad’s current “if you share it, it’s public” way of doing things. However, there is the possibility that options for selective sharing may come later, which I would like.
I would also love to see Springpad integrate with Facebook comments, to keep conversations surrounding the likes/notes streamlined — and some sort of automatic like/spring option for users of both platforms would be nice, too. For example, if I like something on someone else’s Facebook/Springpad timeline post, I would like it to spring on Springpad, or add it to my own notebook and my Facebook likes. Also, I would love it if things I add to my new Facebook-generated notebooks would appear as new likes on my Facebook timeline, as well. So far, this doesn’t seem to happen.
The new Springpad Facebook integration takes them one step further away from a standard notebook app, and forward in their evolution as an “inspirational life management” platform.
It used to be that the biggest comparison Springpad had to contend with was “is it better than Evernote?“ Not anymore. With the newly realized vision of Springpad 3.0, the powerful and flexible digital notebook service now finds itself facing off against the hottest web service du jour: Pinterest.
The folks at Springpad have taken something their software has always been able to do — namely, the ability to collect, organize, and share stuff you find online — prettified it and opened up the social pipelines in a big way. It’s easier to explore for new and interesting content. It’s easier to connect with people who have similar interests. But it’s also easier do something that neither Evernote nor Pinterest can provide without help: make the things that you save actionable.
Jack of All Trades vs Focused Expertise
The greatest strength of Springpad is the same thing that has held it back over the years: there’s just so much — maybe too much — that you can do with it. Evernote and Pinterest, no matter how you use them or how many other services integrate them, each really do just one thing.
Evernote makes it easy to take notes and to search for and find them later.
They don’t sound all that glamorous when you boil them down to their base elements, but they don’t need to. Each service does its one thing extremely well — better than everyone else, in fact. There’s power in that. Simplicity engenders trust, niche marketing, yadda yadda.
Springpad, on the other hand, can do all of the following (and more):
Take notes and make it easy to find them
Visual bookmarking (socially-focused now, just like Pinterest)
Personal shopping assistant (finds deals for you and such)
Task management (including reminders and integration with Google Calendar)
Collaborative planning (including corkboard-style planning for the visually inclined)
Etc, etc, etc
To top it off, there are several tools in Springpad that make it easy to classify and organize the various types of information you might want to collect — everything from recipes, to bookmarks, to wine and product wish lists, tasks, notes, files, and more. You can do all of these things quickly and easily from almost any smartphone or computer. They even help you to find new things that you’re interested in, use HTML 5 to give you offline access, and allow you to work with multiple people on private or public notebooks — and they do it all for free!
With all of that — and for free — Springpad should be at the top of the heap, right? Unfortunately, the reality is that their quest to become the ultimate digital notebook — which I believe they are, all things considered — creates a product that some may find intimidating. The immediate impression is that there is too much to learn, and not enough time to invest in it.
But Wait! Springpad Might Have Found the Secret Sauce…
Thankfully, the new, more visual design of Springpad 3.0 takes a lot of that intimidation factor away. The new design introduces a sort of visual simplicity that is easy on the eyes, and makes you want to click through and explore. You can even explore the public notebooks without having your own Springpad account, searching through different interest categories to find everything from great design and gift ideas to awesome places to eat in the city of Boston (or wherever).
In these different notebooks, you can find images, videos, commentary, and more — and if you get an account of your own you can “Spring” your favourites into your own public or private notebooks, add alerts for price drops, add a task or reminder to make sure you remember to look at it again, and so much more. As I said, the information becomes more than just a note or a bookmark, it becomes something you can act upon, in an ecosystem that facilitates forward movement instead of a vague list of interests or a virtual filing cabinet you may never open again.
Springpad shouldn’t be compared to Evernote or Pinterest. Not directly, anyway. It’s become an entity of its own, a place where users are interacting with trusted sources, free to save and act on the things that matter most to them. Springpad 3.0 is a platform that can be easily adopted to suit your needs, be they a simple notebook, a place to find ideas, or a GTD task manager. It can even stand alongside of Evernote or Pinterest, should you want it to.
Go check it out. See what you think. We’d love to hear about it!
Usually, I like to pull out new apps for the App of the Week. Every once in a while, though, one of my favourites releases something so cool that I have no choice but to add the “extra-special” label. For the second time this week, Springpad pushes itself into the 40Tech stream, first with a slick integration into the iOS 5 notifications system, and now by adding yet another level of personalization and social value to their service.
Springpad vs Evernote is a thing of the past. With every new update, Springpad moves farther away from being just a note-taking/remember everything app, and gets closer to being the definitive service for collecting, sorting through, and acting on what interests you. Their latest leaps into this arena bring you three things:
Customize Your Notebooks
Note:Notebook customizations show up in the most recent versions of the mobile apps: iOS 2.6+, and Android 2.4+.
The ability to easily customize your notebooks so that you see only what you want in the sidebar, and cut the extra steps out of the Quick Add process.
Customizing your Springpad notebooks is easy. All you need to do is hover over the notebook (or the open notebook’s title bar) until you see the little wrench appear by the name, click said wrench, and head to either the Navigation or Quick Add button that appears in the pop up settings dialogue.
Click and drag the navigation items to reposition them or delete them completely.
Change the item-type without moving anything (change Everything to Board, for example).
Change the way notes are sorted when you open that navigation item (by Added, Modified, Tag, etc.).
Change the Starting View for that navigation item to default as title-only, title-with-description, or grid.
Different navigation types will have different options, depending on their function. For example, the Types Section and Tags Section also allow you to decide how many of their items to show in the sidebar, as well as to decide if you want to sort by note count or name. That last bit, alone, will make life easier for those who use GTD in Springpad, and the other features won’t hurt either.
This is where things get fun. The best thing an app like Springpad can do is make it as fast and easy as possible for you to get things into it. Springpad was already pretty good at this, especially via their mobile apps, but sometimes it was a bit of a pain to select notebook, then select item type (or change item type, if Springpad’s auto-select got it wrong), etc., etc. Now you have the ability to make sure that the notebook only shows the options that you need to see.
You can select by the standard add a Note, Task, By Type, Look It Up, et al, as well as by Recipe, Book, Movie, and more. You can also choose client-specific options. This is fantastic if you do most of your collecting for that notebook by mobile, as you can then set it to collect only by Photo, Audio Recording, Barcode, or Search Nearby. Please note that Android devices currently do not allow adding alarms, contacts, or events, and mobile devices in general do not allow adding from My Stuff. Quick Add can be used to filter these items out.
Save, Share, and Download New Notebook Templates
The ability to save your new notebooks as a template for other notebooks, share it with others, or easily adopt their shared templates.
Once your notebook is customized just how you like it, you can use it as a template for new notebooks by selecting it from the “Choose template for this notebook” dropdown menu (in the same place you name the new notebook).
Unfortunately, this only applies to new notebooks — there is no option to apply a template to a notebook you already have. If this annoys you, don’t worry, there’s an easy fix:
Create a new notebook
Add the desired template
Open the old notebook
Click Edit in the top left of the notes area
Click the checkbox to select all or use the dropdowns to filter and select (or just use a saved filter and Edit/checkbox)
Use the Notebooks dropdown to add the new notebook
Delete the old notebook
Sharing Notebook Templates
All you have to do here is open up the settings, and click where it tells you to get the share link. None of your notes are shared, or any other private information, only the template. the link will lead to a page that allows people to Spring and install the theme. Add it wherever you like to add links: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, your blog, a public Springpad notebook just for templates — wherever.
Springpad already has a few templates available on their blog that can get you started, complete with ideas on how to make the most of them on the web and on the go. Check them out, and follow the prompts to install them: Gift Ideas template, Recipe Book template, Books to Read template.
Share your custom notebook templates in the comments!
Friends Stuff + Facebook = More Awesome
In case you haven’t heard, Springpad has integrated Facebook into Friends Stuff, so you can easily check out and add your friends’ Likes and Check-ins. We’re talkin’ movies, books, TV shows, music, places, and the like that your real-life friends recommend; easily viewable and sortable in your Springpad app, and easy to add to your own notebooks for later access.
The Friends Stuff Facebook integration is in beta, but if you click the link in the Homecreen’s sidebar and authenticate with Facebook, you should be able to get connected. At the very least, you will be put on the list and Springpad will send you an email to let you know when you can access the new feature.
Check out the Friends Stuff + Facebook video:
So yeah… That’s a lot of Springpad awesome for one day. Kudos to CEO Jeff Janer and the entire Springpad crew for continually thinking of and adding new ways to make their service useful and unique. I can’t wait to see what they do next!
What do you think about Springpad’s new additions?
It’s been two days now since iOS 5 officially landed — and it’s a hit. There are always a few hiccups, of course, and there are things that could be better and worse, but it’s pretty much the biggest update that iOS has seen since Copy and Paste. In fact, the update was so anticipated that the amount of people trying to get it all at once overloaded Apple’s servers and, ironically, left a lot of customers with an unfortunate upgrade experience. The error 3200 problem seems to be resolved now, however (I had no issues last night), so feel free to jump on in!
Before I upgraded, one of the biggest questions on my mind was how apps and services would be able to integrate into some of the cooler features — like the new notification centre. I was extremely pleased to see that the Springpad team is, as usual, at the head of the curve. They’ve already turned the notification centre into something that will not only make your life easier, but it’ll make things easier for your iOS-using friends as well.
I’m talking about Springpad’s new send to phone feature. With a single click, you can send something from the Springpad web app directly to your iPhone’s notification centre, where you can then open it up in the mobile app with a touch. This makes for a fantastic way to work with something you might need to map on the go, like a restaurant, gift-location, or whatever/wherever you’re on your way to. It makes planning a breeze, and can even be used as a creative way to get an organized reading list onto your phone or iPad, so you can continue researching whatever you were up to on your desktop before you went out.
The coolest feature os Springpad’s send to phone, though, is that you can add in multiple devices. This allows you to not only send things to all of your own iOS devices, but you can add a family member or friend as well, and share recipes, directions, product ideas, bookmarks, note-reminders, and whatever else you think might be useful to them.
Take a look at the video below to see Springpad send to phone for iOS 5 in action:
Oh — and if you haven’t heard, Springpad is doing better than ever before. In the last six months, they’ve grown another million users, which puts them up over the 2 million mark. These users have created over 5 million notebooks (about 3.5 notebooks per person), and have become 150% more engaged due to integration of check-ins and likes into Facebook.
Are you using Springpad for iOS? If so, tell us how you like the new send to phone feature for iOS 5!