About a year ago, Evernote branched out from its core mission of being the place to record your life by launching apps tailored to specific purposes, focusing first on Food and contacts management (Hello). Today, the company is releasing a major update for Food on iOS that will take the app to the next level of usefulness: users will now be able to search recipe archives and look up and map places to eat; do more with their own food notes; and use the app on an iPad. Its initial partner recipes is Punchfork, while Foursquare is powering the restaurant service. An Android version, it says, will be coming soon.
Taken all together, Food 2.0 is also a strong sign of how Evernote, now with 45 million active monthly users, is building out its platform not only as resting place for your own data but also a platform for exploring and finding new information, within Evernote but also across the wider Internet. (Its updated SDKs for iOS and Android, also released today, point to that, too.)
It’s also a sign of Evernote once again playing to its strengths: earlier this year CEO Phil Libin noted that Evernote Food users are the most engaged of their customer base (although we haven’t been able to get an updated download or user number for Food); the new functionality of this app should extend that engagement even further.
As Evernote puts it in a blog post, the new app attempts to give you a “soup to nuts” food experience. That starts with the creation of food itself. Whereas in the past you could use Evernote food to record a recipe, now you can also Food to find recipes by others, searching by dish, ingredients and even by blog name. Evernote tells me that its launch partner for recipes is Punchfork, although it will be adding more soon.
The restaurant finder, meanwhile, puts Evernote head-to-head with the likes of Yelp, by not only offering a listing of restaurants nearby, but also letting you create annotations of the ones that you would like to visit, without having to leave the Evernote app. Given that Evernote is designed for list-making, I can see people people annotating in this way quite easily. Those lists, of course, can also be accessed from Evernote’s core app, too. The fact that it is powered by Foursquare is an interesting twist: it’s a sign of how Foursquare is also increasing its role as a data provider as much as a destination in itself.
The service that was the core of the earlier Food app, the ability to record you own meals, is also getting a boost: bigger pictures, better maps, and more ways of sharing the information. Recipes that you input yourself, as well as those you ‘clip’ from elsewhere can all be consolidated in your own “Cookbook” too.
It will be interesting to see whether aligning restaurant/location-based search more closely with how you create and consume food yourself is something that most people want and need in their lives, but I can see how foodies might gobble something like this up.
Looking ahead, I see some interesting hints of where Evernote might take this app next. It notes in the blog post that you can use Food as your “shopping buddy.” By that, they mean creating lists of what you might need to buy to make a particular recipe, but why shouldn’t that extend to, say, a FreshDish-like experience where you can buy ingredients via the app, or integrate with your favorite online store to add to those shopping lists?
A video of how the new Food app works is below, or you can pick up the app yourself here.