Evernote announced today that it has raised $20 million to expand features and ultimately boost the number of paying members for its product. According to Gigaom, Evernote has created 4.7 million users of the application in two and a half years, thanks to desktop applications and mobile devices, and has been adding 10,000 new customers a day over the last two months alone. As someone who only recently heard about Evernote, those numbers are overwhelming and curious. Gigaom places the success of Evernote in converting non-paying users such as myself into paying members on the freemium model, known to be successful with cloud-based services such as Dropbox.

Evernote isn’t a new application, nor is the concept of cloud-based note-taking. But Evernote has seamlessly integrated all of it’s uses with online, desktop, and mobile applications, and with the addition of the Trunk – a host of hardware and applications that easily integrate with Evernote make it much more successful than other similar software and applications. Lifehacker makes a good case for Evernote’s triumph over many other cloud-based note applications.

A universal capture application is only as good as its ability to catch information no matter where you are and what you’re doing. With support for accessing and adding notes from your cellphone, through any web browser, or through the desktop version, the most popular note-taking applicationEvernote is perhaps the closest option to a true universal capture tool available next to plain old pen and paper.

Between articles, reviews, and my own preliminary experimentation with Evernote, I’ve yet to be entirely convinced, but there are some key features that Evernote does better than most. what are the features that make Evernote

1.Evernote allows you to capture virtually anything, on any platform.

Evernote is the most fully integrated universal capture tool I’ve yet to come across. Too many are based on just one operating system, or web browser to be truly effective. For example, as effective and streamline as MobileMe is, despite claims that it does work with PC it ultimately is meant to work more efficiently with Mac, and only Apple mobile devices. Bookmarks work equally as well with Firefox as Safari, and equally for Windows and Mac (I’ve yet to see much about Linux). Similarly on the Mobile front, there is rave reviews for iPhone, Android and Windows Mobile.

2. Evernote supports both advanced tagging and advanced searching

One of the features I fell in love with immediately when I got my first Mac was Spotlight, and it is by far the most used feature on my computer to this day. Similarly, the advanced tagging feature of Del.ici.ous Bookmarks made me an easy convert. Evernote combines these two features by allowing users to effortlessly tag every note, clipping and picture they create or upload. In return, Evernote makes it incredibly simple to then search the tags you have created to find specific information.

3. Evernote optimizes your handwritten notes

Evernote’s ability to recognize text in images – i.e read my shoddy handwriting is an incredible tool for those of us who still take handwritten notes from time to time. I’ll often get crazy with an idea on a pad of paper, and dread transcribing it on the computer later. Not only will this do a good job of transcribing hand-writing, it also becomes another set of searchable tags to easily access later. This, in conjunction with tools like Livescribe make it a great multi-media note-taking tool for a variety of situations.

I’m not an easy convert, but Evernote definitely has proven to be a great introduction to universal capture for those who have yet to experience its functionality. For informationphiles like myself though, Evernote still runs the risk of becoming more of a mind-dump hub than an actual organization tool. I have high hopes for Evernote’s development and growth with this new funding.

Photo from Flickr user verbeedlingskr8 under Creative Commons license.