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Hello,

I am a bit confused how Evernote and Yinxiang Biji interact.

1) Is the Windows desktop application the same between Evernote and Yinxiang Biji? When I download the app from https://www.yinxiang.com/download/, the name of the file is Evernote_....exe. Does it mean it is the same software used for both? If they are different, can I install both of them on Windows 7?

2) Can a user E, using Evernote, share notes with another user Y, using Yinxiang Biji? In that case, where are the files stored? Does it mean the files will be duplicated to Yinxiang Biji servers? Or will Y have access to the shared notes on the international servers?

Thank you!

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Hi.  I'm no expert,  but I think the two services are completely separate.  It is possible to swop between the two if you move geographically,  but what would happen if you tried to use them side by side I don't know.  I suspect it would not be good.  Changes made on the one service would not necessarily be reflected in the other (open to be corrected here by anyone who actually knows how this works...)

If you're outside China you should automatically connect with Evernote.com.  Inside China you go to Yinxiang Biji.

Since sharing works between an Evernote user and anyone else,  including non-Evernote users,  shares should work regardless.  Some cautious experimenting is probably advised...

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16 minutes ago, gazumped said:

Hi.  I'm no expert,  but I think the two services are completely separate.  It is possible to swop between the two if you move geographically,  but what would happen if you tried to use them side by side I don't know.  I suspect it would not be good.  Changes made on the one service would not necessarily be reflected in the other (open to be corrected here by anyone who actually knows how this works...)

If you're outside China you should automatically connect with Evernote.com.  Inside China you go to Yinxiang Biji.

Since sharing works between an Evernote user and anyone else,  including non-Evernote users,  shares should work regardless.  Some cautious experimenting is probably advised...

My understanding is that your data is stored in the service for which you signed up for: Yinxiang Biji = China and Evernote = US. If a US person visits China, they still connect directly to the Evernote service in the US (where their notes are stored). The same is true for a Yinxiang Biji user who travels to the US. It shouldn't matter where you are. It matters which server holds your account.

They are separate services using the same software (as far as I know). Presumably, you would install one app and switch between two accounts, one located in China and the other in the US. I don't know for sure, though, as I don't have a Yinxiang Biji account.

As for sharing, the files would end up on both servers, wouldn't they. That makes sense to me, anyhow. The best people to ask are probably the Yinxiang Biji support staff. They surely have dealt with similar questions in the past. 

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Thank you both for your replies. I have done a bit more research, and the answers seem quite depressing. The conclusion is basically:

  • Evernote can only be used by people outside China, sharing with similar people (using Evernote + outside China)
  • Yinxiang Biji can only be used by Chinese speaking people in China, sharing with similar people (unsing Yinxian Biji + Chinese speaking + in China).

So if you ever consider using Evernote involving China and other countries at the same time, you should probably give up. There are of course a few ways around, but nothing really practical. [I would be glad to be corrected of course if I am not correct.]

I try to give point by point replies:

20 hours ago, M-J T said:

Is the Windows desktop application the same between Evernote and Yinxiang Biji? When I download the app from https://www.yinxiang.com/download/, the name of the file is Evernote_....exe. Does it mean it is the same software used for both?

Yes. Both services are using exactly the same Windows desktop application.
I guess the same is true for other operating systems?

20 hours ago, M-J T said:

If they are different, can I install both of them on Windows 7?

The software is the same, so you can use both accounts with the same software! This sounds great, until you realize that it is in reality making the cohabitation impossible: you cannot use both Evernote and Yinxiang Biji accounts at the same time. You must chose between accounts.
"There is no way to log into the Chinese service without completely logging out of the International service, even tough I am an Evernote Premium Account Holder."
From https://discussion.evernote.com/topic/66528-chinese-and-international-evernote-co-existing-on-macbook-pro/

You can only switch between Evernote and Yinxiang Biji accounts at the login step:
https://help.yinxiang.com/hc/zh-cn/articles/212817298
You can see already here one of the main issue with Yinxiang Biji: all the information, technical support and web application are only in Chinese. So if you are not fluent in Chinese, you can already forget about using Yinxiang Biji.

 

20 hours ago, M-J T said:

Can a user E, using Evernote, share notes with another user Y, using Yinxiang Biji? In that case, where are the files stored? Does it mean the files will be duplicated to Yinxiang Biji servers? Or will Y have access to the shared notes on the international servers?

No. The servers are completely separate, and cannot communicate to each other.
So if a user E in the US has a Chinese colleague Y using Yinxiang Biji, they cannot share anything, even though you are using exactly the same software.

13 hours ago, gazumped said:

It is possible to swop between the two if you move geographically,  but what would happen if you tried to use them side by side I don't know.  I suspect it would not be good.  Changes made on the one service would not necessarily be reflected in the other (open to be corrected here by anyone who actually knows how this works...)

Sure, it is possible to swap between Evernote and Yinxiang Biji. But it involves moving all your data between Evernote servers and Yinxiang Biji servers. If you frequently move in and out of China, this is completely impractical.
The best part of this is of course moving to a fully Chinese language only service provider, as I mentioned above...

13 hours ago, gazumped said:

If you're outside China you should automatically connect with Evernote.com.  Inside China you go to Yinxiang Biji.

This is not true only on the website if you are not logged in. If you are in China, evernote.com is redirected to yinxiang.com. But there is an option in yinxiang.com to go back to the international website.

However, the accounts are completely separate. You cannot login on the Chinese website with your international account, or the other way around. You cannot switch easily between Evernote and Yinxiang Bij. If your account is on Evernote, you can access it only on evernote.com, and if your account is on Yinxiang Biji, you can access it only on yinxiang.com (only in Chinese).

14 hours ago, gazumped said:

Since sharing works between an Evernote user and anyone else,  including non-Evernote users,  shares should work regardless.  Some cautious experimenting is probably advised...

This is completely wrong, or at least very misleading if I understand correctly the situation.
If you want to share notes with another user, he must create an account. You can of course share an url, but others cannot modify anything.
The interesting part is that he must create an account on the same website (international or Chinese).

  • So an Evernote user who wants to share a note to a Chinese colleague on Yinxiang Biji can do it only if his colleague create an account on the international website. As we have seen that you cannot run Yinxiang Biji and Evernote at the same time, I find it pretty useless.
  • The other way around is even worse. As Yinxiang Biji is only in Chinese, if a Chinese user of Yinxiang Biji wants to share a note to a foreign colleague, he will send him an email in Chinese to join the shared note, the link going to a Chinese website, with no English option, where he has to create an account all in Chinese before he can even access the note... Nicely done Evernote!
13 hours ago, GrumpyMonkey said:

As for sharing, the files would end up on both servers, wouldn't they. That makes sense to me, anyhow.

That would make sense to me also... Unfortunately this is not correct: you cannot share notes between Evernote and Yinxiang Biji.
You can only fully migrate from one to the other. There is no way to keep the data synced on both accounts.

14 hours ago, GrumpyMonkey said:

The best people to ask are probably the Yinxiang Biji support staff. They surely have dealt with similar questions in the past. 

Well, the problem is that they are Chinese language only. So if you are not fluent in Chinese, there is no way to get any information from them.

Some other interesting points:

  • If you try to keep your international account in China, it will work barely ok, as long as you force all the other people you want to share data with to create an international account. The syncing will be quite slow (because of the the slow network or intentional restrictions from the government) and unreliable (see for example the discussion link above: "The main reason for the second account is that Evernote International is generally unreliable for sharing Evernote International note links into China."). They admit it themselves on the Chinese website: "印象笔记服务器在国内,有更快更稳定的同步速度和更完善的用户支持服务;". They is the main way to force users to switch to the Chinese version.
  • If you install Evernote on a Chinese Android phone (without Google Play services), you will get constantly the warning "Get Google Play services: Evernote won't run without Google Play services, which are missing from your phone". It is not that I don't want to get Google Play: it is simply impossible on a Chinese Android phone. So far it seems to be syncing notes ok, so I am not sure what limitations are behind this warning. So it seems that Evernote is still not well integrated in the Chinese environment.
  • If you are moving to China and still want to use Evernote, it is probably useful to create a new account on Yinxiang Biji. Keep in mind though that you will have to pay again for premium options, as they are a different service provider. Thinking of keeping two separate accounts? Well, you will have to pay twice :).
  • There is an article from Evernote explaining how to migrate from Evernote to Yinxiang Biji: https://help.evernote.com/hc/en-us/articles/209005017-How-to-migrate-your-account-from-Evernote-to-Yinxiang-Biji. However, there is nothing about migrating the other way. I would expect the process to be the same, but it is not clear if Yinxiang Biji is making changes on the data. Since the Chinese support is only in Chinese, it is probably something I will not try.

I have tried to gather here the information I have found useful to decide whether or not to use Evernote or Yinxiang Biji in China.links:
Other links:
https://www.reddit.com/r/shanghai/comments/3fepfu/does_evernote_work_in_china/
https://discussion.evernote.com/topic/93196-switch-from-yinxiang-back-to-evernote-international/
https://dev.evernote.com/doc/articles/bootstrap.php

 

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Thank you for a comprehensive explanation It will be interesting to hear more views on this...

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Thank you. I think some points about the sharing, for example, may be mistaken, or perhaps a result of different interpretations about what "sharing" means. It seems exceedingly unlikely that you would be unable to share a note with someone by email, or send them a public link. One is basically an email. The other one is basically an http link. However, if you are sharing notebooks privately or using work chat, then that "sharing" might well be a problem. 

Anyhow, I guess it probably is difficult to use one or the other, or both, but this may be something well beyond Evernote's control. The situation is complex. There are probably some kludgy workarounds (VPNs), but I am not sure what success you'll have with them. I'll be in Hong Kong in a few days. If I have a chance, I'll try to play around with Evernote and see what I can / can't do. I'm OK in Chinese (at least, written Chinese), so I might give Yinxiang Biji a try sometime, but I am definitely not paying for two accounts :)

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The question about sharing was focused on the interaction between Evernote and Yinxiang Biji. I wanted to know if users E and Y can both access and modify a dynamic version of the note. The answer is clearly no: it is not possible to share a note between Evernote and Yinxiang Biji.

Of course, there are other sharing options. But they are limited to the sharing options of an Evernote user with another person not using Evernote. It means that you can only send the content of the note to that other person, but he will not be able to modify it:

  • In a static way (fixed content at the time of sending) by sending it by email, or exporting it. So you loose the link to the note in your account.
  • Or dynamic (keeps updating with the note in your account) by sharing a URL or on social media. It will keep the connection to the note in your account.

So you cannot share a note in Evernote (international or Chinese) with dynamic editing capabilities if the other person is not using the same version of Evernote as you.

20 hours ago, GrumpyMonkey said:

I'll be in Hong Kong in a few days. If I have a chance, I'll try to play around with Evernote and see what I can / can't do.

Hong-Kong is no behind the Great FireWall, so it is irrelevant.

20 hours ago, GrumpyMonkey said:

I'm OK in Chinese (at least, written Chinese), so I might give Yinxiang Biji a try sometime, but I am definitely not paying for two accounts :)

The Chinese Premium subscription is actually much cheaper at 148 RMB per year (20 EUR), compared to 60 EUR for the international version.

Some other differences I have identified:

It is a pity Evernote did not manage to keep all this trouble away from the user, with the ability to sync between international and Chinese servers (even if it would mean paying more for this duplication of files).

 

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I see what you are saying now. Thank you for the research. Hopefully, it will help other users make decisions in the future. 

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