04/11/2012 10:04 AM
By Michael B. Farrell, Globe Staff
In an era when smartphone apps act as both pen and paper, actually jotting down notes seems almost antiquated.
The latest app for digital diarists comes from Boston’s Springpad, a four-year-old tech company that released a new version of its Web notebook of the same name on Wednesday.
Springpad lets its users -- there are 3 million of them -- create digital notebooks out of their own to-do lists, memos, or musings, and collect and organize info from the Web, such as movie reviews or restaurants listings, into separate categories that are searchable and sharable online.
“Our whole goal is this vision of a smart notebook,” said Jeff Chow, Springpad chief executive officer.
Springpad is competing with a growing number of note-taking apps. One of the most popular is from the Mountain View, Calif., company Evernote Inc.
Springpad hopes that its update, which represents its big leap into social media, gives it an edge on the competition. Now, users are able to open up their virtual notebooks to other Springpad users who, much like on Twitter, can follow what they put into their categorized digital diaries.
“The trend that we are playing into is the interest graph,” said Springpad cofounder Jeff Janer, who said the direction of social media is “not just about people, but their interests.”
Even though its new release is an effort to be a bigger players in the increasingly crowded world of social media, Springpad got its start as a simple way for users create memos and organize Web content.
“I use it for when information comes my way and I need to figure out a way to quickly hold onto it and capture it,” said Kevan MacGee, who works in sales for a Rochester, N.Y., Web development company. Last Christmas, he said, he used the app to create a virtual shopping list.
Janer said Springpad aims to make money by potentially giving brands and advertisers access to users who express interest in certain products. The company has 16 employees and raised $7 million in its first round of venture capital investment led by Fairhaven Capital of Cambridge.
Michael B. Farrell can be reached at email@example.com.