Evernote and LinkedIn strengthen their partnership to save us from business card hell

Scanning a business card with Evernote's iPad app

Above: Scanning a business card with Evernote's iPad app

Image Credit: Evernote

It’s 2014 and we still haven’t moved beyond trading tiny paper cards when we meet new people.

But an enhanced partnership between Evernote and LinkedIn announced today, together with improved card scanning capabilities in LinkedIn’s iPhone and iPad apps, may finally bring business cards into the modern age.

With today’s update, Evernotes’s iOS apps are smarter about recognizing business cards and capturing their data accurately. Previously, you had to tilt your smartphone camera at a special angle and tap your screen to focus on a business card (glossy paper is the bane of phone cameras). Now the app automatically takes a photo of the card once it’s in focus.

Evernote also announced today that it’s gobbling up users of LinkedIn’s CardMunch app, a tiny business card scanning app LinkedIn acquired back in 2011. CardMunch users can now move all of their scanning data into Evernote, and the existing CardMunch app will shut down on July 11.

LinkedIn and Evernote are building on a previously announced relationship from December, which allowed business cards scanned into Evernote to surface LinkedIn profile details. Evernote users have to connect to their LinkedIn accounts to use the feature.

Evernote says it didn’t pay anything to acquire CardMunch’s users, which really makes me wonder how the two companies worked out this deal. Evernote isn’t divulging specifics on the deal, but it makes sense for both companies — Evernote has considerable expertise in digitizing text from the physical world, and LinkedIn’s business-focused social network has around 300 million members.

The new business card scanning features will eventually make their way to Evernote’s Android apps. And while the company intends to make it a part of its $45 a year premium product, you can get a year of free business card scanning simply by linking your Evernote and LinkedIn accounts together. Existing CardMunch customers will get two years of scanning free.

As someone who loathes walking away from conferences with pockets brimming with business cards, I’ve been using Evernote for years to snap photos of every business card I come across. Even before the LinkedIn integration, Evernote’s OCR software was usually smart enough to read the text on business cards, which allowed me to search for cards easily.

After shooting a few cards with the new Evernote app, I found it to be even more useful as a digital rolodex. The actual process of capturing cards is much simpler now, since you don’t manually have to make sure they’re in focus. You can now also quickly add scanned business cards to your iPhone or iPad’s contact list, which could be an incredibly useful tool for networking.


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