reQall e-Memory – A quick test summary.
I am currently reading Total Recall, by Gordon Bell and Jim Gemmel on their ongoing work in the field of life-long “e-Memory”. They mention Evernote and reQall as current, interesting and cloud based e-Memory applications and as a long-time Evernote-user, I simply had to try reQall. Especially as I haven’t found “my” task manager software yet, one that I really use, even though I have tried quite a few.
Basically you use your voice (by calling reQall by phone), an iPhone or BlackBerry app, web browser, email or instant messaging to send short reminders to the reQall service, in the style “Talk to Peter about project X at work tomorrow at 11am”.
reQall parses the message (spoken text gets uploaded and parsed server-side) and extracts information like kind of reminder (keywords), date, time, location and who needs to be reminded. It then creates entries in the online “to-do”-, shopping- and notes lists and assigns the proper time and dates, locations and people to them. If people you mention are known to reQall (= you specified them and they have a reQall account), it will forward the task to them.
The most interesting part for me is the location awareness. If you carry a GPS enabled device – currently, unfortunately only the iPhone and BlackBerry are supported – the reQall client software uses the devices location to match your tasks to predefined locations. So when I am at work, I only see things that I have tagged “work”, but not the things I need to do at “home”. If I go shopping “downtown”, the items in my shopping list show up, because I associated them with the location I predefined as “downtown Zürich”.
reQall also integrates with Evernote, so the keywords in tasks get looked up in Evernote and reQall shows the relevant Evernote-notes together with the tasks. Very impressive. As I snap most business cards and upload them to Evernote, reQall shows them to me as soon as I mention a name in a task, thanks to Evernote doing OCR in all photos.
reQall would integrate with Outlook to add tasks to the calendar if they have a time and date associated, but this feature is limited to paid Pro accounts and requires using Outlook 2007 and below. I have however switched to Outlook 2010 on all my systems – and I would never go back.
My reQall wishlist would be a Windows Mobile app and Live Messenger integration.
reQall by David Pogue of the New York Times.