This is interesting… Dropbox and Google Drive have always been competitors (in my mind and usage), but it seems like Dropbox is taking on the “internet scale storage system” that Dave Winer mentioned on Twitter… more like competition with Evernote?
Dropbox users will be able to create, open, edit, save, and share Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides directly from Dropbox. And when you’re working in Dropbox, you’ll be able to save Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides to your Dropbox account.
We all need another brain to remember things and even remind us later. Evernote basically accomplishes that for me.
I’ve been a fan and user of Evernote for (over?) 10 years now. Here’s a nifty guide for using the app in ways that even I found valuable:
You’re just getting started with Evernote, and you’re asked to create your first note. What do you do with it? Make a shopping list? Write a poem? Plan your life? A blank page offers endless possibilities. Here are some cool ideas you can use to make that first note—and all the notes to follow—matter.
That’s a worry I’ve heard before. Whether you’re a job seeker meeting a recruiter, an account manager calling a customer, or a novice getting coffee with an industry veteran, handing off communications to an assistant might give you pause. You might worry that you’ll blow the opportunity, come off impersonal or worse, arrogant.
I’ve been using Amy as my personal assistant to schedule meetings and add things to my calendar for a little over a year now. Amy is an “artificial intelligence powered assistant” that you act with as you would a person. The advantage is that Amy does all of the time-consuming email back-and-forths that come along with scheduling meetings.
There are a number of companies coming out with similar AI powered assistants, but x.ai has been my preference (I do test out others to keep up with things).
I schedule lots of meetings with clients, potential clients, boards, and colleagues (and podcasts), so anything that frees up my time while coming across with the same genuineness and kindness that I normally try to convey via email is a winner.
Over the past year, I’ve learned a good deal about how to deal with Amy as well as how to introduce or include Amy into an email thread with people who have no clue what AI is or why this personal assistant is not a real human being. I’m sure that will continue, but as a culture we are on an upward slope of awareness about AI (whether that’s because of interactions with Alexa and Siri or news stories) and the concept of having a personal assistant that is powered by AI won’t be such a novelty in a few short years.
I’ve not had anyone comment about my pretentiousness of having a personal assistant or tell me that they were annoyed or inconvenienced by the experience of working with Amy. So maybe we’re getting over our preconceptions about the role of personal assistants in a post-Siri world.
For now, I’m continually using Amy to power meetings and enjoy the experience of doing so!
One of my favorite clients had this question on our weekly call this morning.
I excitedly said “YES!” which feels a little odd. Going back through my blog archives here, you’ll see lots of instances over the last 10 years where I’ve written that LinkedIn “sucks” is “terrible” and “should not be used.”
However, LinkedIn can be a fabulous tool for groups and nonprofits looking to make an impact within a certain influencer group. I offered a couple of different thoughts on how to do that in our call this morning, but the highlights are that you should be posting updates and your posts should be “mobile-first” (short, narrative, and text). Secondly, use their native video feature to share QUICK and focused updates via mobile video, especially if you’re doing outreach or looking to connect with parties in your community.
There’s a great list of other ideas here from Social Media Examiner that I found while doing some research:
Keep it short. No one wants to read walls of text. Also, on LinkedIn mobile, a See More link appears on text updates longer than five lines. On the desktop version, your post is cut off after only three lines. With these limits in mind, if you use a storytelling approach, put a compelling hook in the first line to encourage people to read the whole post.
Once installed, Iris automatically detects you in a hospital. After remaining there for 10 minutes, Iris reaches out to confirm if you’re okay or not via a push notification. If everything’s okay, perfect, just hit the the button to confirm and Iris will go into the background again. If you’re not ok and Iris doesn’t get a confirmation from you, the emergency contacts you chose upon sign up will be informed via text message. Iris will also present your personal health card on the lock screen of your iPhone so ER staff can access your important health and personal data including your name, health status, spoken language, daily medication, and more. ER staff is also be provided your emergency contact”s information and will be able to reach out themselves if they haven’t heard from your contacts already.
But Marsbot is important for other reasons, too. She represents a different kind of bot than the ones you see in Facebook Messenger — one that’s proactive rather than passive. She’s not a chatbot, but an interruptive bot. Crowley says that most other bots are in the model of Aladdin’s lamp: you invoke them and the genie appears. Marsbot is more in the Jiminy Cricket mode, hanging over your shoulder and chiming in when needed.
I’ve been testing out Marsbot the last few days, and I’m seriously impressed. I’ve been using the Ozlo bot for my random food suggestions based on location, time, preferences etc… and I’ve been happy with Ozlo.
However, Marsbot has something unique going on… it’s not a bot that waits for you. Rather, it’s proactive. If you’ve seen Her, you know immediately what I’m talking about.
Plus, it’s based on Foursquare’s accumulated data over the years, which is immense. Plus, it works in your text messaging app (iMessage if on Apple) where you’re used to getting personal updates or messages rather than going into another app on your device.
Interesting messaging bot for Facebook Messenger that was just released today. Once you add Shelfjoy to Messenger, you “chat” with it to discover books in various categories (or “shelves” as they call them). If you find something you like, you click “Buy” and you’re handed off to Amazon to complete the purchase with the Shelfjoy affiliate code.
We’ve been doing this sort of thing for a while with affiliate marketing and niche recommendations. I had a friend who developed a chat bot for AIM (remember that?) back in 2003 that gave you suggestions about products based on your chats. What we haven’t had is the ability to do so in format like Facebook Messenger that already has all of your social graph data (friends, likes, credit card etc) already tied in.
I expect to see more of these and more intelligent versions of these as Messenger and Google’s upcoming Allo and Siri / iMessage continue to become more “intelligent” and tied into our existing data profiles.
Courtbot was built with the city of Atlanta in partnership with the Atlanta Committee for Progress to simplify the process of resolving a traffic citation. After receiving a citation, people are often unsure of what to do next. Should they should appear in court, when should they appear, how much will the fine cost, or how can they contend the citation? The default is often to show up at the courthouse and wait in line for hours. Courbot allows the public to find out more information and pay their citations
Merianna and I were just talking about the implications of artificial intelligence and interactions with personal assistants such as my beloved Amy.
The conversation came about after we decided to “quickly” stop by a Verizon store and upgrade her phone (she went with the iPhone SE btw… tiny but impressive). We ended up waiting for 45 mins in a relatively sparse store before being helped with a process that took all of 5 minutes. With a 7 month old baby, that’s not a fun way to spend a lunch hour break.
The AI Assistant Talk
We were in a part of town that we don’t usually visit, so I opened up the Ozlo app on my phone and decided to see what it recommended for lunch. Ozlo is a “friendly AI sidekick” that, for now, recommends meals based on user preferences in a messaging format. It’s in a closed beta, but if you’re up for experimenting, it’s not steered me wrong over the last few weeks of travel and in-town meal spots. It suggested a place that neither one of us had ever heard of, and I was quite frankly skeptical. But with the wait and a grumpy baby, we decided to try it out. Ozlo didn’t disappoint. The place was tremendous and we both loved it and promised to return often. Thanks, Ozlo.
Over lunch, we discussed Ozlo and Amy, and how personal AI assistants were going to rapidly replace the tortured experience of having to do something like visit a cell provider store for a device upgrade (of course, we could have just gone to a Best Buy or ordered straight from Apple as I do for my own devices, but most people visit their cell provider’s storefront). I said that I couldn’t wait to message Amy and tell her to find the best price on the iPhone SE 64 gig Space Grey version, order it, have it delivered next day, and hook it up to my Verizon account. Or message Amy and ask her to take care of my traffic ticket with the bank account she has access to. These are menial tasks that can somewhat be accomplished with “human” powered services like TaskRabbit, Fancy Hands, or the new Scale API. However, I’d like for my assistant to be virtual in nature because I’m an only child and I’m not very good at trusting other people to get things done in the way I want them done (working on that one!). Plus, it “feels” weird for me to hire out something that I “don’t really have time to do” even if they are willing and more than ready to accept my money in order to do it.
Ideally, I can see these personal AI assistants interfacing with the human services like Fancy Hands when something requires an actual phone call or physical world interaction that AI simply can’t (yet) perform such as picking up dry cleaning.
I don’t see this type of work flow or production flow being something just for elites or geeks, either. Slowly but surely with innovations like Siri or Google Now or just voice assisted computing, a large swath of the population (in the U.S.) is becoming familiar and engaging with the training wheels of AI driven personal assistants. It’s not unimaginable to think that very soon, my Amy will be interacting with Merianna’s Amy to help us figure out a good place and time to meet for lunch (Google Calendar is already quasi doing this, though without the personal assistant portion). Once Amy or Alexa or Siri or Cortana or whatever personality Google Home’s device will have is able to tap into services like Amy or Scale, we’re going to see some very interesting innovations in “how we get things done.” If you have a mobile device (which most adults and growing number of young people do), you will have an AI assistant that helps you get very real things done in ways that you wouldn’t think possible now.
“Nah, this is just buzzword futurisms. I’ll never do that or have that kind of technology in my life. I don’t want it.” People said the same thing about buying groceries or couches or coffee on their phones in 2005. We said the same thing about having a mobile phone in 1995. We said the same thing about having a computer in our homes in 1985. We said the same thing about ever using a computer to do anything productive in 1975. We said the same thing about using a pocket calculator in 1965.
In the very near future of compatible API’s and interconnected services, I’ll be able to message this to my AI assistant (saving me hours):
“Amy, my client needs a new website. Get that set up for me on the agency Media Temple’s account as a new WordPress install and set up four email accounts with the following names. Also, go ahead and link the site to Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools, and install Yoast to make sure the SEO is ok. I’ll send over some tags and content but pull the pictures you need from their existing account. They like having lots of white space on the site as well.”
That won’t put me out of a job, but it will make what I do even more specialized.
Whole sectors of jobs and service related positions will disappear while new jobs that we can’t think of yet will be created. If we look at the grand scheme of history, we’re just at the very beginning of the “computing revolution” or “internet revolution” and the keyboard / mouse / screen paradigm of interacting with the web and computers themselves are certainly going to change (soon, I hope).
Spotify declined to comment; Apple hasn’t responded to request for comment.
For the past year, Spotify has argued publicly, and to various regulators in the U.S. and Europe, that Apple’s subscription policies effectively punish third-party music services that use Apple’s platform, while boosting Apple Music, the home-grown service it launched in June 2015.
Evernote has been one of the leading note-taking services for some time, with clients for the Web and every major OS. The company recently announced sweeping changes to its “freemium” pricing strategy, which puts a big limit on the “free” tier and raises prices across the board for new and existing users.
I’ve been an Evernote user since March 28, 2008 (got in before it launched in beta in June 2008) and immediately signed up for their Premium option when it opened up.
I was eager to support the app / service early on, because I saw the utility of being able to access my notes and create new ones from whatever device I happened to be on. That was already possible with the early iterations of services like Google Docs that had previously been Writely, but Evernote felt “new” in the sense that it was post-iPhone and looked ahead to a world where apps became the driving force of interaction, especially on mobile (after Steve Jobs relented on allowing apps to be installed and an app store for the iPhone).
Over the years, Evernote became more things to more people than just a note taking app. There were checklists, and document syncing, and PDF OCR, and business card storage. As a result, there were more and more calls for Evernote to get back to its roots and avoid bloat. I know I suffered through some of the “bloat” in 2011 and 2012 when Evernote seemed to really take off and started acquiring smaller and focused apps such as Penultimate, Skitch (still one of my favorites), Readable etc to round out their offerings. Then, there were the partnerships with the “offline” world such as Moleskine and Post-It Notes. We even saw an Evernote branded line of coffee mugs, backpacks, and lifestyle gear.
It was all too much.
I welcome this new period in Evernote’s story. I’m hoping they do “slim down” to some extent and even focus more on things like the current web version’s Google Drive integration (rather than being a document storage platform themselves). I’ve always thought of Evernote as more of an “Operations HQ” that ties into other apps I use like Trello or 1Writer on the iPad than a place to store all of my documents, pictures, and files.
I use Evernote everyday, and more so now that I’m trying to use iPad Pro as my main computer. It serves as my note repository, the place where I put PDF’s that I need for OCR, and a quasi-database of ideas for clients and research. It’s indespinsible to me, and I’m not sure how something “free” like OneNote or Google Keep could replicate that. I’m hopeful they continue to push forward on the excellent web version as well (and that doesn’t affect free members, which is a nice incentive for people to give it a try).
It’s painful when anything “goes up” in price. But the economic reality is that costs go up as we demand more from services and companies compete for skilled developers. Evernote did see the loss of a number of devs over the last few years, but I’m hopeful they’ll get their mojo back.