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Leaving Buzzword / for Evernote

Jun 13, 2010 4:59 PM

As a member of the Buzzword community for a couple years, I wanted to post the latest update in my quest for truly satisfying cloud based document system.


I have been using Buzzword for over two years having fallen in love with the beautiful interface, the simplicity (lack of extraneous fluff) and the simple approach to sharing.  I have tried to find a way to use Buzzword with my team at work for working on technical documentation and project docs, but have been unable to do so because of two glaring omissions in the application: 1) Styles (which even the in-browser editor provided by this forum supports as I type this post) and 2) images in the header / footer of a doc (my company puts it's logo in document headers).


Despite not being able to use Buzzword for work, I have used it personally for jotting down ideas, outlining documentation for my own projects, and any other documents I wanted to access from any computer.  I have waited patiently (and sometimes not so patiently) for the Buzzword product to be upgraded and move forward so that it would be easier to use on my phone, have better searchability, offline syncing, etc.


This weekend, I decided not to keep waiting.


I've also been an Evernote Premium user for about a year.  Let's compare observations about the two products:


1) Adobe is a large, established and profitable company with lots of resources.  Evernote is a small startup.  Adobe probably has littlle priority placed on making their online apps great, Evernote will live or die by the greatness of their one app.  Buzzword has seen no significant updates in the last year.  Evernote has seen 4 - 5.  When it comes to advancing and enhancing their product, I'm placing my bet on Evernote over Buzzword.


2) Evernote has a fantastic iPhone app that lets me type up notes and upload them, as well as pictures, PDFs, sound recordings, etc.  It tags and geolocates everything.  I can search my entire library of documents on Evernote, including search for text inside pictures and within PDFs.  The app syncs the docs offline if I don't have an Internet connection available. Mobile is a slow, clunky, underpowered iPhone app that Adobe farmed out to a 3rd party.  It limits how many pdfs I can create and is not capable of searching within PDFs in my library.  I cannot create new Buzzword docs (or even see Buzzword docs) using the app.  It's probably been out for about 6 months now and has been given one minor upgrade.  About 60% of the ratings for the app are 1 star ratings (2 star average).  Advantage Evernote.


3) Evernote has APIs, Buzzword does not.  I use 2 other apps to create specific types of content for my Evernote account and to upload different kinds of files to my Evernote accounts.  I cannot use the app to access Buzzword documents, nor any other app.  I can only use in my desktop browser, and as stated earlier, Buzzword on is essentially never updated.


Evernote recently added rich text options to create more document-like docs (different fonts, colors, sizes, tables, etc.)  These are still not even close to those available in Buzzword, but I have a feeling that within a year, they may get pretty close.  On the other hand, Evernote already has offline syncing on my phone and desktop and searchability within PDFs and images, things that have been long requested and ignored in Buzzword.


So, I've decided to take a different approach to my online documents:  I'm sacrificing some of the style Buzzword offers in favor of true ubiquity, accessibility, searchability, ease of access and speed.  I'm jumping ship from Buzzword and taking a gamble on Evernote.


I will be judging my experiment over the next year based on 1) Do I create more documents in Evernote than I did in Buzzword (early indications seem to indicate I will, by far)  2) How often do I access / use these documents   3) How often do I need to go to some other tool to do something I can't do in Evernote with my documents.


As a parting message, I truly hope that Adobe decides to put some attention and development behind Buzzword.  Something that looked and felt like Buzzword, with all of its capabilities (plus styles and images in headers), married with the advantages of Evernote would be a dream come true.  Rather than making more and more underdeveloped good ideas (Tables, Presentations, Buzzword, in general, Story, and even the Flash Player of late) I wish Adobe would make some of the individual good ideas live up to their potential and become a leader in their space.


As much as I like Adobe and Adobe products (I'm an Adobe mega-user), I am sad that they acquired Buzzword and basically killed off development of what would have been an amazing an useful product by now had the original team kept working on it.


I"m curious if anyone else is jumping the Buzzword ship?  Or already did so long before me?

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 14, 2010 10:59 AM   in reply to gloam

    Even though I am a premium plus subscriber, I am now looking at other options.  I even teach a small course helping others to use, but I find it difficult to recommend it to anybody at this point.  Buzzword is going nowhere.  Tables and Presentations still feel beta.  Tables is particularly limited.  Every time I see that the service will be down for maintenance, I hope for some new features in Buzzword, Tables, and Presentations, but it never happens.


    I am really tired of Adobe's watchword: collaboration.  Buzzword is great for collaboration, provided that you have a bulleted list of items to share and little else.  Unfortunately, is the bimbo of cloud office suites.  It looks hot, but has no depth.  It lacks features needed for production, despite its slick interface and collaboration capabilities.  As a result, I can now create lame documents and share them with everyone.


    I think that the programming demands are such that Adobe will not be able to add more features to the suite.  I think the lines of code needed and complexity involved with making a cloud-based office suite are simply too daunting and too expensive.  Perhaps OpenOffice and IBM Lotus Symphony are best to use for creation and then I can use for storage space.  Whatever the case, I think Adobe has made it clear that is not going to advance much more.  I do not see spending the money to continue my premium plus subscription when it comes due.


    I think Adobe blew it on this product's development.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 22, 2010 10:24 AM   in reply to gloam

    That's bloody wonderful! Buzzword was great before it was bought out by Adobe. Updated often like Evernote.


    Thanks for relaying its existence to me!


    Buzzword could be awesome if it had that level of care, as it once did. Every time there is an update, things are often made worse.


    I originally came on to complain about the atrocious scrolling. It was bad when it was really slow, but I prefer that to the 3/4 page with one click thing that is happening now.


    But that probably will not be dealt with for another 4 to 5 months if that.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 7, 2010 9:46 AM   in reply to Scaea

    I think you are all right with your complaints about basically not enough attention is given to the development of Buzzword.  I am also an Evernote user, but I am still caught up with the beauty of Buzzword and will stay around just a little longer. Acrobat, it is way passed time to respond!?!



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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 20, 2010 8:03 AM   in reply to gloam


    thanks for the long post as you departed

    i must say i was excited and now i'm not


    buzzword feels stalled. of course the answer isn't with

    microsoft live and their attempt at a mac collaboration tool

    but i'm prepared to try an alternative to buzzwod, and wasn't before


    if adobe is uncommitted to the former VU team, it can't expect

    anymore of its beta users



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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 22, 2010 9:46 AM   in reply to gloam

    I am at this moment considering making a change.

    I do not have the same needs as you do, mine are simple

    I just want to create a professional

    document. I cannot get consistant spacing

    and my paragraphs are different widths, from one to the next.

    No alignments or margin corrections or any other tool has


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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 30, 2010 6:24 AM   in reply to gloam

    I've been with Buzzword since before Adobe bought it and I thought it had great potential.

    Before Adobe, there were updates every six weeks or so. Now it seems like the original team is gone and the product is stagnant. Adobe tried to monetize it and I'm guessing they failed miserably. They should have (and still could) make it a killer word processor that integrates with FrameMaker and InDesign, but that hasn't happened. We've been asking for paragraph styles for 2 years at least! There obviously isn't much manpower devoted to it. Then you have project Rome, which debuted and quickly died. It did similar things and that was even more confusing. My guess is that they keep looking for a way to make money on this, and they way forward isn't clear. Why pay for something when Google Docs is free? Adobe should just develop killer software for free and monetize via another route. They could also drop the price of FrameMake to be competitive with Word and they would have another awesome product, but they seem to lack vision in this area.

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