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ANSWERED Context: Your work enriched by the smartest minds

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We’re applying our machine learning and augmented intelligence expertise to present you with all three research phases automatically, at the moment you need them, without ever leaving your workspace. As you work, Evernote is automatically looking for other information and content that might help you connect the dots/see the big picture. This content can take the form of other notes, people you might talk to or even relevant news sources.
 
In Evernote, every phrase informs our algorithms about what other content might help you further your project. We call this Context. It’s an extremely powerful new Premium feature coming soon to Evernote.
 
 
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All of this happens entirely within Evernote. Our Augmented Intelligence features like Context are focused on improving your personal experience with Evernote. None of your personal information is ever shared with a third party.

 

 

You + Evernote
We’re building the first workspace that grows with you and improves your output. It’s Evernote, together with experts from around the world, helping you do the best work of your life. These features are coming to our major platforms very soon. 

 

Learn more about what you can do with your knowledge, your team's knowledge, your network, and professionals at the Evernote blog

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Please tell me we can still have a dark sidebar in whatever version that is.  

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For the Context service, does Evernote have any inclination towards dealing with some academic sources too? Wall Street Journal and Fast Company are fine and dandy, but what about ScienceDirect, Elsevier, or JSTOR? This would definitely help your users in the Ivory Tower (there are a couple of us!) and a good number of these publishers have accessible APIs.

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These are our launch Context resources. I expect that we'll add more in the future as we mature the Context service. The initial set are definitely business and tech focused.

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These are our launch Context resources. I expect that we'll add more in the future as we mature the Context service. The initial set are definitely business and tech focused.

Will this include sources for foreign users in the future? As far as I know only about 30% of Evernote users are in the US.

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As it is, I love the Related Notes features in their various incarnations. It would be great if the up-and-coming Context features were separate options that could be turned on and off (I read on Yahoo Tech that Evernote was "getting improvements to its Related Notes feature")... because while I am itching to give it all a test drive, I get the feeling that (at times), the "Context" feature could be a distraction, no matter how useful the associated information that pops up, especially when one simply needs to get thoughts out of one's head as opposed to the need for idea generation at other times. There needs to be an elegant way of being able to intuitively and selectively toggle "Context" on/ off - because I think it's a lesser distraction when it comes in the form of notes we already have housed in our database vs. untapped sources of related information. It depends what "working mode" you're in at any given time. I do love the idea either way... just allow us to control the level of stimulation or the leads to new information that streams our way - at will. 

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I truly like the concept but I am confused with the overall strategy EN is pursuing.  On the one hand, dumb down the interface to provide focus, on the other hand add a bunch of stuff which probably is in sync with what you are reviewing.  Starve the ADD, feed the ADD.  Parameters to let me pick my own poison?

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I find the context service idea interesting and it may be a helpful addition but I'm concerned with the effect it will have on search speed especially for large accounts.  I already need to disable related notes and am wondering if this will just be another service that will have to be disabled.

 

Announcing new ideas at the conference is great and invigorating for a growing company but also addressing long term concerns such as scalability, speed and encryption would give us confidence that the company is taking seriously their 100 year pledge.

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These are our launch Context resources. I expect that we'll add more in the future as we mature the Context service. The initial set are definitely business and tech focused.

Thanks Geoff!  I realize, of course, that this is a brand new feature, so I know you aren't going to have a list a mile long at launch.  Just wanted to put it on record that there is definite interest (from at least one user!) in academic sources. An idea to toss in Libin's "ideas" business notebook perhaps?

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I truly like the concept but I am confused with the overall strategy EN is pursuing.  On the one hand, dumb down the interface to provide focus, on the other hand add a bunch of stuff which probably is in sync with what you are reviewing.  Starve the ADD, feed the ADD.  Parameters to let me pick my own poison?

It isn't clear where the desktop interface has been dumbed down.... (that is, as of the conference/the last year, in which the interface has remained the same on desktop clients, with the exception of what appears to be a bit of new paint on the Mac client in those screenshots)

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I find the context service idea interesting and it may be a helpful addition but I'm concerned with the effect it will have on search speed especially for large accounts.  I already need to disable related notes and am wondering if this will just be another service that will have to be disabled.

 

Announcing new ideas at the conference is great and invigorating for a growing company but also addressing long term concerns such as scalability, speed and encryption would give us confidence that the company is taking seriously their 100 year pledge.

 

Let us not forget fixing the bugs that exist as well.  Not wants, just the things that don't work to spec.

 

 

I truly like the concept but I am confused with the overall strategy EN is pursuing.  On the one hand, dumb down the interface to provide focus, on the other hand add a bunch of stuff which probably is in sync with what you are reviewing.  Starve the ADD, feed the ADD.  Parameters to let me pick my own poison?

It isn't clear where the desktop interface has been dumbed down.... (that is, as of the conference/the last year, in which the interface has remained the same on desktop clients, with the exception of what appears to be a bit of new paint on the Mac client in those screenshots)

 

 

Scott,

 

Bad couple of days for me as I look back at my posts, more negative than I care to be.  My only excuse is that I use EN extensively, it is a second brain for me, and I don't want to lose it.  

 

Personally I see a trend when I experience half baked betas, software releases with bugs that don't get fixed, bias to pretty versus function as opposed to both, the response to most problems being either re-install the program or reload your data, collaboration that really isn't, trinkets, and rhetoric re replacing Office,  It's a trend I don't like.  All of it is fixable other than maybe the last one.  

 

I realize that it is tough to balance newbies versus pros and personal versus business users.  it's their company so they can do it as they see fit.  But if you homogenize it to the lowest common denominator without any level of user customization, you will satisfy no one.  That can lead to losing customers, either paying or not in the freeware model.  IMHO.

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As it is, I love the Related Notes features in their various incarnations. It would be great if the up-and-coming Context features were separate options that could be turned on and off

 

Once available, this should be a "toggle-able" feature.

 

I truly like the concept but I am confused with the overall strategy EN is pursuing.  On the one hand, dumb down the interface to provide focus, on the other hand add a bunch of stuff which probably is in sync with what you are reviewing.  Starve the ADD, feed the ADD.  Parameters to let me pick my own poison?

 

Yes, but we're feeding your ADD constructively :)

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I truly like the concept but I am confused with the overall strategy EN is pursuing.  On the one hand, dumb down the interface to provide focus, on the other hand add a bunch of stuff which probably is in sync with what you are reviewing.  Starve the ADD, feed the ADD.  Parameters to let me pick my own poison?

 

Yes, but we're feeding your ADD constructively :)

 

Now that's a true mixed metaphor!   ;)

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Will the context features be supported in the mobile clients? 

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Sounds interesting. I do have a couple of questions. First, will Context support Wikipedia as a source? Second, are the partner/content providers going to show ads or native advertising

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The one thing that keeps me from moving my research archive over to Evernote is Devonthink's "see also" feature. Evernote already has a "related notes" feature, but it's pretty limited. Depending on how this works, it may turn out to be a more than viable replacement. Like ScottLougheed mentioned, if they can get it to work with academic databases, it would be a game changer. 

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The intent of Context is to only show content that is relevant to your work. We're not going to turn Related Notes space into ad space. As far as native advertising goes--it'd probably depend on how each outlet categorizes or manages that content, and whether we can differentiate between what is/not native advertising coming from the outlet.

 

It's an interesting question. There's a growing hunk of content out there that also exists in a "brought to you by" grey area. Take what Medium is doing--a company can sponsor a collection of content within Medium, but not necessarily have anything to do with the genesis of the content.

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This could be a game changer for Evernote if it's executed well. 

Hopefully Evernote doesn't get too limited to the "Work "space paradigm in terms of context augmentation. 

Many students out there, many researching, or blogging and collecting related items...so I'm totally with ScottLaugheed in the need for including academic databases..jstod, Wikipedia also does the trick. 

It'd be nice in settings to choose your database....if for example I just don't want WSJ items popping up. 

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Thank god I can turn it off. Sorry I don't want my notes read and then content sent to me based on my note taking.

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I'd like to understand how much of my data is spidered by Evernote in order to make these connections?

If I switch context off, are my notes still spidered?

Feels like more than a little invasion of privacy.

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Thank god I can turn it off. Sorry I don't want my notes read and then content sent to me based on my note taking.

If I recall from the keynote, the actual processing is done on the local machine, and then related material fetched (that is, whatever they use for "contexts"... keywords, themes, etc are sent, but not the entire granular contents of individual notes, that processing is done on your machine). I may have mis-heard this....

 

If I can find a source for my claim, I'll link to it, unless staff chime in to clarify themselves. 

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The intent of Context is to only show content that is relevant to your work. We're not going to turn Related Notes space into ad space. As far as native advertising goes--it'd probably depend on how each outlet categorizes or manages that content, and whether we can differentiate between what is/not native advertising coming from the outlet.

 

It's an interesting question. There's a growing hunk of content out there that also exists in a "brought to you by" grey area. Take what Medium is doing--a company can sponsor a collection of content within Medium, but not necessarily have anything to do with the genesis of the content.

 

After reading this Techcrunch article I'm doubly leery of the whole Context feature. Obviously I don't expect Evernote to share its business plans or strategy, but it really seems like this could be a budding plan for Evernote to eventually make money with promoted content masquerading as Context, especially in light of the Nikkei article and the fact that all the content providers are corporate and advertising funded and Wikipedia is omitted. I'd rather you guys just sell the pencil holders and premium subscriptions. 

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The intent of Context is to only show content that is relevant to your work. We're not going to turn Related Notes space into ad space. As far as native advertising goes--it'd probably depend on how each outlet categorizes or manages that content, and whether we can differentiate between what is/not native advertising coming from the outlet.

 

It's an interesting question. There's a growing hunk of content out there that also exists in a "brought to you by" grey area. Take what Medium is doing--a company can sponsor a collection of content within Medium, but not necessarily have anything to do with the genesis of the content.

 

After reading this Techcrunch article I'm doubly leery of the whole Context feature. Obviously I don't expect Evernote to share its business plans or strategy, but it really seems like this could be a budding plan for Evernote to eventually make money with promoted content masquerading as Context, especially in light of the Nikkei article and the fact that all the content providers are corporate and advertising funded and Wikipedia is omitted. I'd rather you guys just sell the pencil holders and premium subscriptions. 

 

 

 

The intent of Context is to only show content that is relevant to your work. We're not going to turn Related Notes space into ad space. As far as native advertising goes--it'd probably depend on how each outlet categorizes or manages that content, and whether we can differentiate between what is/not native advertising coming from the outlet.

 

It's an interesting question. There's a growing hunk of content out there that also exists in a "brought to you by" grey area. Take what Medium is doing--a company can sponsor a collection of content within Medium, but not necessarily have anything to do with the genesis of the content.

 

After reading this Techcrunch article I'm doubly leery of the whole Context feature. Obviously I don't expect Evernote to share its business plans or strategy, but it really seems like this could be a budding plan for Evernote to eventually make money with promoted content masquerading as Context, especially in light of the Nikkei article and the fact that all the content providers are corporate and advertising funded and Wikipedia is omitted. I'd rather you guys just sell the pencil holders and premium subscriptions. 

 

I'm not sure why this article, and Context in general, makes you leery. 

 

First, it isn't anything masqueraded as "promoted content", it is promoted content plain as day. There are companies paying Evernote to be included in Context, to me this falls in the definition of promoted content (in at least a broad sense). (I can't speak to why Wikipedia is excluded, so I choose not to read anything into this, lacking any information whatsoever to make any meaningful inferences). 

 

Second, Context is entirely optional. If you don't like it, you can simply un-tick the box (as I have done). Either way, your data are not fed to the content producers. 

 

Third, and picking up your point about "corporate and advertising funded" content providers being the only available sources, I have two points:

1) This is early days. I suspect Evernote is starting with the low-hanging fruit to demonstrate to investors and potential partners the viability of the scheme. High-readership, reasonably mainstream, catering to some large proportion of Evernote's user base (as measured by or perceived by Evernote). Maybe there will be some more niche content (e.g., www.rabble.ca; sorry for the Canadian example, I'm not familiar with US alternative media), but for the time being I suspect the "corporate" is going to dominate;

2) The vast majority of media outlets producing digital content are funded at least in part through advertising (except for publicly funded outlets like the BBC, CBC, and NPR, or a few alternative media outlets, though even these all have some small amount of advertising in some forms or another). Aside from academic journal databases (which are EXTREMELY corporate), and wikipedia, I can't think of any non-advertising-based media outlet that isn't either extremely alternative, or extremely niche. 

 

Now, I don't find Context useful at all, because none of the sources are sufficiently credible or have any relation to my own work. But I'm not leery of Context because of this, just as I'm not leery of Evernote having introduced Evernote Business a while back, something that I also have no need for. 

Aside from the possible diversion of resources from other pressing tasks (though this could be counterbalanced by increased revenue, and thus, increased resources), what makes you leery?

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Actually, I had hoped that Evernote paid the websites for access to that content in order to provide a benefit to users. And I thought that was part of why the subscription fee was going to change. This was probably pretty naive of me, but also why the Techcrunch article came as a surprise. I had not understood why Evernote would not connect with Wikipedia or any number of .gov sites. 

 

So why am I leery? First, I had believed the sole goal of the Context feature was to connect users to the best information. That seems less accurate if the determinant is, at least partly, whether the source has paid Evernote money. Second, I don't feel comfortable about providing value to Evernote by contributing to a big pile of data that media companies may pay to have their data matched against. If that's what is happening. I like the ethos of the simpler business model where Evernote only makes money by providing value to users. I understand the viewpoint that Context can just be turned off, and I have nothing against Evernote Business or even the stuff in the Marketplace. 

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I can see why you might take issue with the way they have decided to conduct business here. Indeed it does privilege those who are willing to/able to pay, and disadvantage those who don't/can't. (though I hadn't even considered the possibility that Evernote would pay media companies, to me that seemed backwards, but not wrong, just backwards relative to how I saw it and understand the biz). 

 

With respect to privacy, apparently, according to Evernote's blog:

 

All of this happens entirely within Evernote. Our Augmented Intelligence features like Context are focused on improving your personal experience with Evernote. None of your personal information is ever shared with a third party.

So, nothing being handed over to third-parties. Though of course, as with any situation where you store information on someone else's servers, and this applies not just Evernote, these terms can always change. But I don't think any ToS had to change for Evernote to offer context since they have always mined your Evernote data to feed it back to you (related content, as well as all the OCR stuff and type-ahead searching etc). So, this is something to be concerned with, for sure, and has always been the case with Evernote (and, well, every company like Dropbox and Google, and Apple, and Facebook and Amazon, and.....)

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I didn't pay that much attention to the initial marketing for context from EN since it didn't sound like something of interest to me. But the sense I got from that marketing was more along the lines of providing the user with additional content on point with the notes at hand. This doesn't sound like it will necessarilty always be the "best" content.

Perhaps the leeriness is related to some sense of a slippery slope, what comes next relative to one's content. I remember the Mission Impossible TV series. They would take a reasonably rational despot of some third world nation and in a series of interactions get that despot to a very irrational positon. I really don't think that is EN's intent, but context for $'s could give one pause in that regard.

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Evernote Context, IMO, is another example of Evernote pretending that they always know best.

 

Anyone that's done real research, whether it's scientific, business, engineering, or just the normal research of finding/selecting vendor/suppliers, knows that the most important factor is in choosing sources for your research that have been vetted, and that you can trust.  So, each of us (companies and people) must go through an individual process of selecting our sources.  Using sources that Evernote chooses to provide simply is not wise, and won't work.

 

And, what is worse IMO, is the pulling of your colleague's notes stilling in the next cubical (or across the world).  We all take lots of notes (whether or not in Evernote) when doing research, and make tentative/draft conclusions that often change as we do more analysis and research.  Pulling your colleague's draft notes could be very dangerous.

 

I also don't think it is ethical to pull your colleague's notes without his/her knowledge and approval.  This is why REAL research is done on published results, not draft notes.  

 

 

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is it possible that context sources shows french journals and newspapers?

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I just upgraded to Premium and I am appalled to see at the bottom of my personal note, a block of Context showing me "Full transcript of Donald Trump's speech to..." This doesn't work for me!!!! I am absolutely NOT INTERESTED to receive articles from The Wall Street Journal about this moron or anything that is absolutely NOT RELATING to the personal note I was looking at. This is a CREEPY INTRUSION!

I know how to hide Context at the bottom of my note and I am against this feature that seems to feed the world's contexts that I refuse to support in any way!

This seems to be an iNVASION OF PRIVACY that might get me to compromise my subscription!

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4 hours ago, mmfillenord said:

I just upgraded to Premium and I am appalled to see at the bottom of my personal note, a block of Context showing me "Full transcript of Donald Trump's speech to..." This doesn't work for me!!!! I am absolutely NOT INTERESTED to receive articles from The Wall Street Journal about this moron or anything that is absolutely NOT RELATING to the personal note I was looking at. This is a CREEPY INTRUSION!

I know how to hide Context at the bottom of my note and I am against this feature that seems to feed the world's contexts that I refuse to support in any way!

This seems to be an iNVASION OF PRIVACY that might get me to compromise my subscription!

Hi @mmfillenord,

Welcome to the forums. You can turn the Context feature off in Evernote's preferences:

In Evernote Mac, open Evernote then select Evernote > Preferences > Context from the menu bar and un-check the Show Context box.

In Evernote Windows, open Evernote and then select Tools > Options > Note and un-check the Context box at the bottom.

You can find more information on the Context feature here:

https://help.evernote.com/hc/en-us/articles/209004707-How-Context-enhances-your-notes

https://evernote.com/context/faq/

Let me know if you have any questions.

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