Android Apps

Springpad aides memory on Android, finds useful information on web

May 24, 2010 | by Andrew Kameka

Lifestyle, Productivity

Springpad aides memory on Android, finds useful information on web

See it, save it, sync it, and use it. That’s the premise behind Springpad, a free information-capturing tool that recently launched an Android application. Using the new Android app, Springpad is designed for taking notes or photos to aid memory while on the go, and then use the web client for managing what you discover.

Springpad advances the concept of “capturing information” by adding automatic links that you’re likely to use. First, users can search/create, snap a photo, scan a barcode, or search nearby. Then, Springpad uses information to find relevant and practical uses for that data.

Imagine if you spot an article in a newspaper about a restaurant and you “clip” the article (highlight relevant text in the web client). Springpad could then find Yelp reviews, check for reservations, or locate the restaurant’s address information. Other potential uses include scanning a movie barcode and adding it to your Netflix queue or using it to purchase the DVD from Amazon.

Other features include:

  • Content sharing – anything you have stored in your Springpad can be shared with others. Spotted a great recipe you want to share with your family members for an event? No problem. Press the “Share” button and Springpad will send it to any app linked to the Android share function – Facebook, Twidroid, Gmail, etc.
  • Fast syncing – Springpad uses GWT, as demo’d in the Google I/O Day 1 keynote. When you make a change on the phone or desktop, the other device is automatically updated in a few seconds. The speed is very impressive and doesn’t require a manual sync.
  • Notes & media – everything you save can have photos or text notes to provide additional context. If you’re touring a museum and want to learn more about a particular painting, snap a photo of it to save along with personal comments about what you thought/learned.

One area where I think Springpad could improve is making it as easy to clip content on the go as it is on the web. Springpad offers a bookmarklet on desktop browsers to make it easy to highlight text and save it. It would be beneficial if users could do something similar while using the Android browser.

UPDATE: I just spoke with Springpad and they informed that there are some built-in browser features in the app

We actually do enable browser sharing between different sites that our bookmarklet supports. However, given the way it works through Android: hit “More” when you’re on a site, hit Share and if you have Springpad downloaded – you can automatically add the item to your Springpad (e.g. works on about 50 “trusted” sites – so far – including Amazon, Gap, Epicurious, etc.)

Other than that, the early signs of the software appear to be solid. Springpad will have the unenviable task of competing with Evernote, but CEO Jeff Janer says there are key differences between the two services; the first is use. While Evernote is designed for note-taking and task completion, Springpad is geared for more detailed management of information.

Price is the second difference.

“With us, the more you save, the more you get,” say Janer in reference to Springpad’s completely free service, as opposed to Evernote’s model that charges for additional data storage/transfer.

Register for a free account at Springpadit.com and then download the Android app to find more useful ways to manage your content.