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Evernote, the bug-ridden elephant

Evernote the bug ridden elephant jasonkincaid net


More than that, I am alarmed that Evernote seems to be playing fast and loose with the data entrusted to it. Instead of building a product that is secure, reliable, and fast, it has spread itself too thin, trying to build out its install base across as many platforms as possible in an attempt to fend off its inevitable competition.

This strategy is tolerable for a social network or messaging app (Facebook got away with atrociously buggy apps for years). But Evernote is literally aiming to be an extension of your brain, the place to store your most important ideas. Its slogan is “Remember Everything”. Presumably the integrity of its data should be of the utmost importance.

What’s worse, it isn’t consistently improving. When iOS7 launched, Evernote was one of the first applications to overhaul with a new, ‘flat’ design, and as a result benefitted from being featured prominently within the App Store. But functionally, it was clearly a downgrade from the old app, with extra dollops of sluggishness, crashes, and glitches — it may well have introduced the audio recording bug I fell prey to (I believe it dates back to at least October, when I encountered a similar audio issue that I chalked up to user error).

Evernote’s security track record has been similarly frustrating. Asked in October 2012 why the service had not implemented the increasingly-common two-factor authentication option already offered by companies like Google, Evernote’s CEO, Phil Libin, wrote “Finding an approach that gives you increased security without making Evernote harder to use is not just a matter of adding two-factor authentication…”, implying that something better was on the way.

Five months later the promised security upgrade was still MIA — until Evernote was hacked, its database of user passwords was compromised, and the service rushed to implement a two-factor system that didn’t look much different from the sort Libin was apparently aiming to leapfrog.

This is a company with over $250 million in funding and 80 million users. And unlike many web services that promise exhaustive security and reliability, it’s one I actually pay for.

Ironically, the same day I was told Evernote didn’t have a fix for my corrupted music recording, the New York Times published an article about Evernote titled, An App That Will Never Forget a File.

Stashed in: Software!, Evernote, Awesome, McKayla

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He's totally right, and even Evernote admits it:

It shows how badly people need something like Evernote that they're willing to put up with Evernote losing their data. 

Evernote responds, like a unfaithful lover, with a bouquet.  The company now plans to overall its app in coming months with new versions of all of Evernote's apps, such as Skitch and Penultimate, said Libin. Additionally, over the next few weeks all apps will be getting "significant improvements and simplifications to the user experience", targeting note editing, navigation, search, sync and collaboration.

It's hard to trust a company that grows to hundreds of employees before fixing its product.

They seem more like Microsoft (ship it with bugs that we'll never be done patching) than Apple (it better work or you're fired) in their philosophy toward software.

Which would be fine except that IT'S A NOTE TAKING COMPANY.

If anyone should be getting the details right, it's them.

Cue McKayla...

Evernote I am not impressed gif

Reflecting on my experience over the past few years in the start up space, this neglect of the security aspect of the product and focus on user acquisition may be, at least partially, the pressures created by financial backers, who may be more focused on expanding the customer/user base than the product itself.   Warts and all, they have gotten themselves into a leadership position where they can "act first and apologize later if needed"

It's exactly that attitude that makes me never want to trust them.

Here's another example.

Apple computers have never had a virus because their leaders demanded their software be secure.

Microsoft has created an entire antivirus industry because their software is so insecure.

Evernote has demonstrated that it doesn't build great software.

They have hundreds of engineers and designers but aren't trying to make their software stable till now?

That's a bad attitude. And bad values.

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