Never forget a face with Evernote Hello

Evernote Hello is an iOS and Android app from the team behind the popular Evernote cloud-based notebook solution. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store and Google Play, and in the former case is this week’s Editor’s Choice app thanks to its recent significant update to version 2.0. This review is based on the iOS version.

Evernote Hello is a deceptively simple tool that allows its users to track who they have met and when. The basic functionality of the app is simply to add “meeting” events to a timeline, which is then synced with any one of the user’s Evernote notebooks. There are three ways in which a meeting can be recorded — information can be typed in manually or imported from the phone’s contact list; the newcomer’s business card can be scanned using the device’s camera; or the app’s Hello Connect feature can be used to automatically share information with other nearby Evernote Hello users.

Business card scanning seems to work very well, even with business cards in non-landscape orientations, but it does not cope with cards that put the company name at the top rather than the individual’s name — for example, when attempting to scan a business card from an Apple Store employee, Hello recorded the individual’s details under the name of the store, which is the uppermost piece of text on the card, rather than their actual name, which is on the lower portion of the card. It is simple enough to correct this, however. Business card scanning will be a premium, paid, consumable feature from March 2013, but at the time of writing it is freely available as an unlimited trial for all users.

The Hello Connect feature works in one of two ways. The Audio feature allows users to automatically connect with one another using randomly-generated audio tones — a good idea, since Wi-Fi access to each other’s devices cannot necessarily be guaranteed if meeting in public — whereas the Manual feature sees one user acting as a “host” and setting a PIN which other people at the meeting must then enter into their devices by hand.

Once a meeting has been recorded, its details can be edited, its location given a friendly name and additional notes added if necessary. The details of the meeting are then synced with the Evernote service and stored as an individual note in the user’s Evernote account — the standard General Notes notebook is used by default, but this can be customized in the app’s settings. There is no apparent means of creating a new Evernote notebook from within Hello, however — this must be done within Evernote itself.

Evernote Hello had a somewhat mixed reception when it was first released, as many App Store reviewers noted that it was missing a considerable number of what they considered essential features — most notably, the ability to edit meeting details after the initial recording. With the new update, however, there has been a strong upswing in user ratings, with one App Store reviewer even going so far as to call it “the ultimate CRM system” when combined with a shared Business notebook in Evernote. While I wouldn’t quite go that far — ultimately it’s still a free-to-download multi-purpose mobile app rather than a solution specifically designed for CRM purposes — it’s certainly a solid app that is well worth checking out for those who do a lot of in-person professional networking.

Evernote Hello is currently ranked at No. 205 in Top Free Apps and No. 17 in Top Free Lifestyle Apps on iOS, and No. 201 in Lifestyle Apps on Android. Follow both versions’ progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.