Online Notebook Smackdown: Evernote Vs. Springpad

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partnering with brands who buy targeted ads that show up alongside your notes. If you’ve just saved a Consumer Reports article about circular saws, for example, the ad slots on your note page are going to be pretty attractive to Lowe’s or Home Depot.

2. Once information is in Springpad, it’s even more useful than it was before. Once it’s in Evernote, it just kinda sits there (with one important exception). This is probably the most fundamental difference between the two services. The folks at Spring Partners have built software that enhances your notes with relevant information. Say you’re creating a note about a restaurant where you might want to eat: Springpad will recognize that and automatically include a link to ratings and reviews on Yelp. Making a note from a movie review you saw online? Springpad will show you movie times and link to the DVD on Netflix or Amazon. Evernote, on the other hand, figures that users just want to save stuff, so its interface is solely optimized for copying Web content or local files to the cloud-based system, then searching or accessing them. It doesn’t seek out related information: what you upload is what you get. (The exception is in the area of search. One of Evernote’s selling points is its automatic optical character recognition software, which analyzes photos and PDFs for text and indexes the notes based on what it finds. So if you upload a scan or a snapshot of a business card or a tax return, you’ll be able to find it later from Evernote’s search window.)

3. Evernote has dedicated software for Windows and Mac; Springpad is a pure Web service. If you install the Windows or Mac versions of Evernote on your computer, you can store copies of all of your Web-based notes locally, which means you don’t have to have an Internet connection to access them. But if you’re always plugged in or within Wi-Fi range, it doesn’t make much difference.

Evernote's Web interface4. Both Evernote and Springpad have nifty mobile apps. Evernote launched an iPhone app in December 2008 and an Android app in December 2009. Springpad came out with an iPhone app last month and will release an Android version in May. I’ve used both apps on the iPhone and they’re pretty good for capturing or reviewing notes when you’re away from your computer. Both let you snap and upload photos. The Springpad app’s two coolest features are the local search, which lets you find and then make notes about nearby stores and restaurants based on your current location, and the barcode scanner, which lets you take a picture of the barcode on almost any product, then automatically retrieves information about that product and makes it into a note. The Evernote app includes a built-in voice memo recorder that lets you make audio notes that are up to 20 minutes in length. (The Evernote app is particularly beautiful on an iPad, and I’m told that an iPad version of Springpad is in the works.)

5. Evernote is a medium-sized, well-funded Silicon Valley startup; Springpad is smaller and scrappier. Last November, Evernote secured $10 million in new venture funding from … Next Page »

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Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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