EverNote has long been a popular desktop application among lawyers, who use it to store notes, Web page clips, images, ideas, to-do items and whatever. The “ever” in EverNote came from its appearance, storing all your notes and clips in a perpetual, scrolling tape-like window on your desktop. Recently, the company announced the limited, beta release of EverNote 3.0, which adds a Mac version and expands its reach to the Web and to your mobile phone. Having now tested it for several days, I find it a noteworthy upgrade to the earlier versions.

A video tutorial on the EverNote site describes the product as an external brain, there for you whenever you see something you want to remember. With its ability to store and search just about anything and do it from any platform, that description is not far off the mark.

The most significant change in this beta release is EverNote’s ability to synchronize your notes across multiple platforms, so you can enter and retrieve notes from a PC or Mac desktop, the Web or a mobile phone. Synchronization is quick and automatic, so wherever you enter the note, it is quickly available everywhere else. This also means that if your computer ever crashes, your notes are backed up in their entirety online. In fact, you need not install the desktop software at all if you prefer to use only the online version.

Another notable feature new in this version is EverNote’s ability to index and search text within images. One of many ways you can use this is to snap a picture of a business card or receipt with your mobile phone, send it to EverNote and later retrieve it through a word search. I tried it with various images, including pictures of business cards taken with my phone, and found that it worked well, provided the image is clear. This also works for images containing handwriting, meaning you can write a note, send a picture of it to EverNote, and later find it through a search.

Some other useful features:

  • E-mail notes and images directly into EverNote using a special address EverNote gives you.
  • Clip and save entire Web pages or any portion of a page.
  • Search notes by words, tags, dates and attributes.
  • View a time band to find notes by date.

This latest version of EverNote remains in private beta, which means you must have an invitation to sign up. I signed up from this page about a week ago and received my invitation the same day. Also, Giveaway of the Day is handing out invitations today only. Meanwhile, keep up with new developments at the EverNote Blog.

P.S.: I have 10 invitations to give away. If you want one, send me an e-mail at ambrogi-at-gmail.com.

Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.