Evernote chief executive Phil Libin believes alphabetical contact lists are outdated. And even though his contact app Hello took off like a lead balloon, he hopes that updates coming in the next couple of weeks will help it kill the typical contact list and replace it with a mosaic of photos.
Ever since the note-taking startup Evernote launched, it has been on a quest to capture and organize every bit of data from your life. In a quest to make meeting new people as streamlined as possible, in December 2011 the company launched Hello, an iPhone app that captures contact information and photos of new acquaintances.
While it was a promising idea — eliminate business cards and organize all your contact information in one place — the app didn’t catch on well. The primary design of the app encourages you to hand your phone over the to person you just met so they can enter their contact info. Most people found this to be too invasive, and as CNET pointed out right after the app launched, it encouraged the sharing of “cooties.”
Hello also asks you to snap a few pictures of your new acquaintance. Evernote included this feature to help you remember both names and faces, but critics pointed out how awkward it is to interrupt the flow of a new interaction by snapping a picture. In one-on-one situations this isn’t such a huge issue, but when meeting a new group of people it can be tedious to stop, snap a photo, and enter the contact information for each person, as ReadWriteWeb pointed out after after Hello’s release.
Enough of why Hello took off like a lead balloon; lets talk about Evernote’s strategy to fix its flaws. In the next few weeks, Evernote plans to roll out a few new updates to the app that will make it work more seamlessly in social interactions. When we first covered Hello in December, we pointed out that it would benefit from Bump-like features — the ability to ping information between two phones in close proximity to each other. Libin agreed; in an interview with CNN Tech he said Hello may soon be able to transfer information wirelessly between phones, just like Bump. Libin also mentioned Hello should be able to take photos of business cards and import the data — perhaps we’ll see this in the new version of Hello.
One feature coming in the new update is the ability to input contact information manually, without handing over your phone. The mosaic of pictures won’t be going anywhere, though. Libin believes alphabetical contact lists are outdated and that our brains remember people better with photos.
Be on the lookout for Evernote’s Hello updates in the next few weeks. Perhaps it will finally become the “contact killer” it is promised to be.