De-Activating My Evernote Account

I’m kind of sad today. I erased all of my notes from Evernote and then de-activated my account.

I had been a Premium user for years and had thousands of notes. I used it on the web (when using Linux), on the desktop under Windows, and on my iPhone and iPads. I liked that the data was available on all of those devices. I really liked the web clipper. But the killer feature that got me started on it in the first place was the ability to search in images. Back in the day, when I would facilitate a meeting, much of the record was written on white boards. At the end of a meeting, I would snap a picture of the board (electronic cameras were a very new thing then) and have a searchable record of decisions and dates.

But Evernote was beginning to … smell. There were three things that pushed me over the edge.

  1. Their price increase last fall. In my mind they joined the (growing) group of companies whose motto seems to be “We’re charging you more so we can give you less.”
  2. Moving much of their infrastructure to Google. One of the original attractive features of Evernote was that they maintained their own infrastructure. They didn’t put your data on someone else’s servers. Now they do. And it’s Google. I know that Google doesn’t treat their paid services the same way as the way they spy on the users of their free services. But, it’s Google. And that just makes me uncomfortable.
  3. Their newly published privacy policy. They essentially say they are going to read your notes to help improve user experience. They want to use your notes to help train and direct AI to personalize their service. They supposedly give you the ability to opt out. But we already have enough experience with those kinds of situations to know how easily and quickly they are abused.

This was just too much. So, I erased all of my notes from my machines and their servers and de-activated my account.

I have not found an exact replacement for the service provided by Evernote, but have been doing alright with a TiddlyWiki of my exported notes. I had used it years ago (before I found Evernote) and it is much improved since then. Like I said, it is not an exact replacement, but my data is my own again and it is free and open source.