Evernote Sharpens Up Its Picture-Annotating App Skitch For Mac

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After a rough couple of months last year when users slammed Evernote for updates to image-annotation app Skitch that they believed were for the worse, today the company is releasing a new version of the Mac app. While the company is still taking slow steps for how it integrates Skitch into Evernote — this was one of the bones of contention for legacy Skitch users in how the app was updated — it is continuing to add more features like better drawing capabilities, part of Evernote’s longer-term strategy to create productivity tools that draw more people to its platform and make Evernote an ever-more useful product.

bike-tireThe updates coming today include updates in four key areas, with some enhancing existing features and others adding new functionality altogether:

  • An adjustable canvas: This widens the background for users to have more room to annotate; a simple expansion that makes Skitch potentially useful for creating artwork to be used beyond simply on computer screens.
  • Better shapes: While the canvas is getting bigger, these shapes are getting smaller. Evernote says that they have a much smaller minimum size, for “greater precision.” In addition to that, users will be able to use keyboard shortcuts for more precise shape and arrow drawing.
  • Screen Snaps: These are getting speeded up so that taking and using them is much quicker.
  • Editable PNGs: A new feature, that means users can create .PNG files that they can then re-visit and alter when needed.

A lot of these changes got me thinking about Skitch: it seems like it is increasingly going head to head with online image-editing tools like Pixlr, and to a lesser extent services like Photoshop from Adobe, which has been challenged by online services as well, specifically for winning the casual user.

Now that Evernote has laid the groundwork for more development of Skitch by completely rebuilding from the platform up — it will be interesting to see whether competing more directly with other picture editing services — by adding in, say, filters and other drawing features — is a direction that Evernote would like to take Skitch in further iterations. Again, it would make sense both in terms of making the app more useful, and for potentially figuring out ways of monetizing it by charging for some of the extra features.

We’ve reached out to the company for an update on longer-term Skitch strategy and will add in whatever we find out. For now, you can download the new Mac app, along with Windows, iOS and Android versions, here.