Evernote’s surprise

Evernote shocked its user base with an emailed announcement that it is raising the price of Plus and Premium without adding features, and that Basic users will be restricted to using the app on only two devices. Annoyingly Evernote never states the rates in its emails. It took Taylor Martin at CNet to unpack what this means for users.

Is Evernote Premium’s new price worth it? (July 1)

This is a very useful guide showing prices and features – and providing guidance to Basic users. I do use the app on more than two devices – but I think I can get by with using online access. He does point out that there is always OneNote, a very easy to use clipping and note taking tool – and it is free.

At LifeHacker, Thorin Klosowski has a guide to How to Jump Ship From Evernote and Take Your Data With You. He describes how to export notes, but more specifically, he shows how to move everything to OneNote or to Apple Notes.

My Activity at Google

There may be some advantages to being able to see your activity on all the Google properties – and on pages that serve up Google ads. This would especially be the case if you are researching a topic across media and need to keep a trail. Or you need to confirm something you found earlier.

Google’s new My Activity page lets you see all your Google history in one place, Napier Lopez, The Next Web (June 28)

Nonetheless, it’s a bit scary to realize that Google could track all activity rather than just web search and therefore deliver more ads. But it might also be true that the ads will be better directed. “Mainly, you can control which kind of ads show up everywhere, across various devices and websites.”

You can find this through “My Account” – or go directly to https://myactivity.google.com/

New Search Filters at DuckDuckGo

Bravo for DuckDuckGo – it is adding search filters to help searchers, and has done so through its partnership with Yahoo. (Which makes us wonder about its partnership with Bing.)

DuckDuckGo adds date filters & sitelinks to search eatures, Barry Schwartz, Search Engine Land (Jun 2)

“Searchers can now filter the search results by date, and searchers will now also see sitelinks for some of the top search results.”

Also see DDG blog – New Features from a Stronger Yahoo Partnership

Search “assistants”

Google had much to say about the new “Google assistant” at its annual developers’ conference, Google I/O. It has AI capability and will be built into apps. Danny SUllivan explained in Meet Google assistant: A new search platform, rather than a gadget or an app (May 18)

“So what is Google assistant, in the end? Google assistant combines two things: Google’s expertise in extracting information from content across the web and from partners plus its machine learning smarts to understand what people are asking.”

Broadly, these are called digital assistants. Others are Siri from Apple, Cortana – Microsoft, Echo in ALexa – Amazon. Paul Hunter at State of Digital asked Will Digital Assistants Replace Search? No – because the assistants are most useful for directions, shopping – the kinds of questions spoken to a smartphone – not deeper research into a topic or need. Hunter closes with “Voice search and digital assistants are definitely going to become a big factor in digital, but will it be the end of search? I doubt it.”

Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO, sees Google’s next stage to be in the realms of artificial intelligence and virtual reality.

Google’s CEO sums up his AI vision: “Hi. How can I help?” CNet (May 17)

Products that reflect this and were shown at the I/O conference:

… a messaging app (which suggests comparisons to Facebook Messenger), a voice-activated speaker and smart home control hub (sort of like Amazon’s Echo), a video chat app (think Apple’s Facetime) and a new hardware and software system for VR built around a smartphone (shades of Samsung Gear VR).

The assistant will be “baked in” to new products. Google Home is a smart home speaker – talk to it anytime and use it to manage the house. Allo is a messaging app that will compete with Facebook Messenger, Snapchat and Kik.

Google Translate News

There have been at least two important postings about Google Translate in the Official Blog.

Ten years of Google Translate (April 28) – yes Translate has been with us for 10 years. It now handles 103 languages.

One of the bigger developments is Word Lens – using this app on your mobile phone for “reading menus, street signs and more” – works for 28 languages.

Translate where you need it: in any app, offline, and wherever you see Chinese (May 11) – announces Tap to Translate on Android – copy the text and get the translation.

Posting also announces offline mode for iOS – download the language package and be able to translate when offline.

Recipes with IFTTT and Reddit

Tara Calashain shows how to use IFTTT (If this, then that) to set up automatic search queries on Reddit where its 8.5 million users post millions of news stories. In it she shows how to set up a recipe for receiving an email whenever a Reddit search mentions online museum. She found it was a much better way than using Google Alerts on Reddit items.

Keeping Up With Reddit: Use IFTTT, Not Google Alerts, Research Buzz (May 10)

Cortana-Edge-Bing integration

Microsoft has taken some action to limit users of Cortana, the digital assistant in Windows 10, to using the Edge browser and Bing search engine. These three are tightly integrated – something that may very well annoy people.

Danny SUllivan writes about it in Microsoft blocks Google Chrome & other browsers from Cortana in latest Windows 10 release, Search Engine Land (Apr 28). Sullivan offers a way to hack the search engine setting, but it still seems pretty locked down. Competing digital assistants – Google Now, Apple’s Siri, etc – do the same.