Another simple but neat Evernote hack that came out of the 24-hour Disrupt NY Hackathon earlier today was Squirrel. Created by coder duo Zainab Ebrahimi and Jabari Bell, the hack turns articles that Evernote readers have saved for reading later into a personalised newsletter. So, unlike the average email newsletter, Squirrel is populated with content the user actually wants to read. A sort of anti-spam if you like.
Bell explained he uses Evernote for saving articles to read later but wanted to come up with a neat self-reminder that resurfaces content which he hasn’t gotten round to reading yet. The problem Squirrel is attacking is the sheer volume of new stuff that’s clamouring for our attention online, drowning out the good stuff we genuinely want to pay attention to.
Squirrel creates both a neat summary of articles an Evernote user has earmarked, and acts as a gentle reminder to dive in and read them. With so much digital content being generated, great stuff easily gets buried, said Bell. Squirrel digs it back up. (The name of the hack is a clear reference to how squirrels store nuts for eating later by burying them in the ground — yet oftentimes forget where they buried them so never end up getting to eat them.)
The Squirrel hack lets users set the frequency with which they want to receive an email newsletter, and presents around 10-15 articles per email. While the duo have used Evernote’s API for their hack, it’s easy to envisage other cloud storage services being plugged in. And with so much content out there stored in people’s personal clouds the whole content rediscovery space is looking pretty hot. Add to that, apps like Yahoo-acquired Summ.ly which are designed to help people reduce content clutter and Squirrel’s hack is definitely tapping into a ‘reload my information/information overload’ trend.
Here’s Squirrel’s on stage presentation: