Springpad is so much more than Evernote Lite

Evernote is quickly becoming the de facto note taking and webclipping service on the web and mobile devices, and quite deservedly so. The manner in which you can collect information whether it be complete web pages or highlighted snippets is simplicity itself and the way Evernote allows you to store, tag and file information for future use can be done quickly and easily on the fly.

However, there is another service that is making its mark felt and that is Springpad which I have been using increasingly in parallel to Evernote. To call it Evernote-Lite would be an insult because it has a host of characteristics that make it stand up ands hold its head high in its own right, so much so that from a mobile point of view I use this more than Evernote.

As at very basic level you can create notes and tasks in as many notebooks as you care to. You start off with two inherited notebooks – All My Stuff and Friends – and you build from there. I have a notebook called cookery and in there I have created a number of notes and tasks relating to a new year meal I was cooking.

One note is a basic shopping list of the ingredients that I still need to buy – this can be changed and updated as you go along so you are left with the food you need to buy and this can be synced to your iPhone, iPad or Android phone as you go out. I also have a task, plus a recipe for egg friend rice. I sourced this from within Springpad through its Add Stuff and Look It Up facility. Clicking on the latter I typed in egg fried rice as a search phrase and it went through the net looking for recipes. I could then click through the suggestions and save the one that I wanted to cook.

One great tool within Springpad is the board which allows you to arrange tasks, notes etc on a notice board style frame. If you have a list of tasks you can drag n drop them around the board in order of importance or timescale. This visual aspect to arranging information adds an extra dimension to the way Springpad tags and files information. The board only works on the main service and not smartphones.

If you have Springpad on your smartphone you can sync that with the webside application to keep everything up to date. While you are out and about you can use your existing notebooks or create a new one. Within this you can then add notes, tasks, add media or even scan the bar code on that book you want to keep for future reference.

This is all synced to your main webside notebook and will be ready for you when you return to your main computer at home or work. I find syncing between Springpad and my Android phone faster than Evernote but the latter does contain more data so that will inevitably slow it down.

You can link and log into Springpad from Twitter, Facebook, Gmail or Yahoo and you can authorise Springpad to link with your Gmail, Facebook, Twitter or Flickr account so information can be shared between them. The sharing option is further enhanced by allowing Springpad to share various bits of information with others although if you have a shared notebook called “wine” for example if you add something in that you want to keep private Springpad allows you to do this as this blog post explains.

An important factor of Springpad is support and Katin seems very active on Twitter answering queries from puzzled Springpadders; good to see a company using social media as a reach-out to users of its service.

Overall although it is early days I can see that Springpad will be an important tool in my online arsenal and I am looking forward to seeing how it evolves over the next few months.

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Kevin Tea is a journalist and marketing communications professional who has worked for some of the leading blue chip companies in the UK and Europe. In the 1990s he became interested in how emerging Internet-based technologies could change the way that people worked and became an administrator on the Telework Europa Forum on CompuServe. With other colleagues he took part in a four year European Commission sponsored project to look at the way that the Internet could benefit remote communities. His blog is a resource for SMEs who want to use cloud computing and Web 2.0 technologies.