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Evernote launches Mac client: 2000 beta invites for Download Squad readers


We recently previewed the new Evernote clients -- for web, mobile and Mac -- and now we've got even more details about what's in the works for this popular cross-platform capture tool. Evernote's CEO, Phil Libin, talked to Download Squad about Evernote's expanding catalog of features. The biggest news is today's launch of a desktop client for Mac. We also have 2000 invitations to the beta to share with Download Squad readers, so make sure you read this whole post to get yours!

Libin says the Mac client has been improved a lot even in the short time since demo videos were released on the Evernote website. We were already impressed with how nicely Evernote played with Apple's Photo Booth -- snap a picture of some kind of text, like a handwritten note or a business card, and Evernote will be able to recognize it and make it searchable. Libin says that, although Photo Booth works well for this, Evernote also has direct support for Apple's built-in iSight cameras.

As with the Windows client, all the memories you save in the Mac version can be automatically synced to your phone, your Evernote web account, and your other computers. This opens the door for some creative use cases: Libin says he gets around his poor sense of direction by saving his trip itineraries and Google Maps before he leaves the house. Another staff member took pictures of his prescription medications, so he could remember what they looked like and make the labels searchable. The Download Squad team down at SXSW could no doubt have used Evernote for another neat trick: taking pictures of people you meet at conventions -- Evernote will search the text on their nametags!

We talked cameras and text recognition with Libin, and the CEO said that Evernote's neural nets are getting better at recognizing text from all kinds of cameras. He's had a lot of success with everything from a basic point-and-shoot with an Eye-Fi card to an ancient cameraphone. The key to getting Evernote to recognize your handwriting is to write normally. The software was trained that way, so there's no need to force it and try for extra legibility. Case-in-point: We took a cameraphone shot of some carefully-written words, but Evernote's search picked up on our quick scrawl instead. Very impressive.

Hardcore geeks are going to want to find their own uses for Evernote. Fortunately, the company plans to release a full set of APIs later this year. We're already imagining cool geotagging mashups with Google Maps or Yahoo's Fire Eagle. The goal of Evernote is to capture memories, so it's only natural to capture locations, too. Libin says that Evernote already records geotag information from phones that support it.

Evernote is also good for more than your personal memories. You can create public notebooks that others can view and subscribe to via RSS. We asked Libin about offering support for importing an RSS feed from, for example, Flickr or Tumblr, into an Evernote notebook. Apparently this feature has been requested before, and the Evernote team will eventually introduce it. For now, you can hack around this by using Evernote's IMAP support to feed data into your notebook through the same unique e-mail address you use for your Evernote text messages.

The CEO briefly discussed some additional features that are in development for Evernote's long-term future, like barcode scanning and photo type recognition. Evernote will eventually be able to tell you automatically whether a photo was taken indoors or outdoors, and whether it has people in it, for example. In the meantime, the new Mac client, combined with the existing web and mobile versions, should give you plenty to experiment with.

So here's your chance! The Evernote team has graciously agreed to share 2000 invitations to the Evernote Beta, just for Download Squad readers. They're actively seeking feedback, so don't hesitate to bring up any comments and criticisms you have about the software.

To get your invite, click here.

Tags: beta, desktop client, DesktopClient, evernote, mac, os x, OsX