Well that was quick. Just as Evernote‘s privacy mess escalated rather quickly, its resolution came quickly as well. Whether forgiveness and redemption will also quickly follow remains to be seen. Sensing that a inconsequential apology from CEO Chris O’Neill wasn’t enough to quell flaring tempers, Evernote has quickly followed with a statement that they are revising their stance. Sort of. They will still offer users the “privilege” of enhancing their experience by letting employees read snippets of notes. This time, however, they’re making it optional by default rather than the other way around.
So to be clear, Evernote hasn’t changed its view that peeking into users’ notes is necessary to improve its machine learning system. It’s just making it optional now. While that could indeed placate some worried users, the question remains whether Evernote’s fundamental premise is actually correct, not to mention legal.
To its credit, Evernote at least gave a (somewhat silent) heads up about the change, which can’t be said of other services that similarly do some content scanning of its own. And at least it had the humility to apologize for its error and, to some extent, rectify it. This, however, is just the latest in a series of missteps that Evernote has taken of late, and it’s sure to cause another exodus of users, if not executives even.