Evernote the popular note taking and productivity startupwith 200 million users has built its reputation around an app that lets you record and trackall your lifes details hold them there, for life. Today, the companyis shifting gears on the question of how it will keep hold of and track thatinformation: Evernote ismigrating all of its data, including some 5 billion notes, to Googles Cloud Platform. As part of that, it will also start to use Googlesmachine learning APIs to help access and use that datain different ways.
As a result, Evernote will be shutting down its previous storage architecture that was based around a private cloud infrastructure, along withsome of its own tech. Evernotes new CTO Anirban Kundu told me the first two areas that will be replaced by Googles machine learning APIs are itsvoice recognition for speech-to-text translations; and natural language processing, used to help search for contextual content.
Evernote says it will start the migration to Googlein early October, with a complete migration by the end of 2016.
The transition to the cloud will occur completely in the background. You should see no impact to your service during the transition, and you do not need to take any action. Behind the scenes, Evernote will become faster, stronger, and more stable, Evernote writes. It adds that among the security features that it will gain as a result of the change isencryption at rest, which it saidmany users have asked for in the past.
One thing that it will not gain are ads, Googles most important business product.
Google doesnt get access to the users content to make any assumptions orprovide any ads, Kundu said. Google Cloud Platform is a separate businessunit and not interested in monetizingthat content. We have no intention of using ads. Our user data is private to them and we protect thatin the highest possible way.
Evernote and Google are not revealing any financial terms of the deal, but Evernote tells me that it considered all of the usual suspects before picking Google. Microsoft might have been an obvious consideration, although it has been making some strong effortsto suck up Evernote users to its One Note platform, so that may understandably have been a bitawkward.
Evernotes move underscores a change that is underway in the tech world to doing business in the cloud. For some that has meant taking data off premises into storage that you access over the Internet. And for others like Evernote, it underscores a shift from trying to build and run your own cloud services to outsourcing and using a larger companys infrastructure to cut down costs and shift the job of building the infrastructure to keep that information to a larger provider.
Evernote was a cloud companyfrom the beginning, the head of Googles cloud business, Diane Greene, said in an interview today at TC Disrupt, but when built itit, there wasnt a place toput that [data] in the public cloud.
The move also comes at a critical period for Evernote for other reasons.
The eight year-old startup a year ago parted ways withits longtime CEO and figurehead Phil Libin, who was replaced by current CEO, Chris ONeill (who happens to be a Google alum). At the same time, the company which has disclosed about $205 million in funding has faced valuation markdowns from investors as it lost some of its momentum in terms of growth and overall buzz. Something else it has lost is talent,in the form of severaldepartures of other long-standing execs in the wake of Libins exit.
Under new leadership, Evernote hasstarted to make some moves to sort out its business. It has brought in new talent, and it has picked up some interesting new investments from strategic backers like Nikkei (one investmentreported, and another unreported, from what I understand). It has also firmed up itsrevenuestructure with more expensive pricing plans.
And, notably, it is cutting out some of itsunprofitable operations as it repositions itself to grow in a more healthy way.
There was a lot there that didnt make sense, ONeill admitted to me last week.
This last development cutting out some of the less efficient efforts of the business is where the Google news today fits. Evernote describesthe move to Googles platform asa natural progression for the company.
As with any outsourcing project, Evernotes emphasis is on how it can use the change to channel its resources to other areas.
By moving its data center operations to Googles cloud, Evernote can focus on its core competency: providing customers with the best experience for taking, organizing, and archiving notes, the company writes in a blog post.
Evernote is by no means the first company to jump to Googles Cloud Platform and use its APIs to run its customer-facing technology. Others on theGoogle Cloud Platform includeSnapchat, Spotify, and Viant. Others using its machine learning APIs includeOcado,Wix, andDisney.
But all the same, its a big move for a company that has prided itself in years past on being an agnostic and reliable place for your photos, thoughts and documents, no matter what else happens, despite Evernotes own past security issues.