How to Stop Google Assistant From Hijacking Evernote Notes

I love using Evernote. In fact, it’s an integral part of my productivity system, Do Busy Right.

Sometimes, though, I and others run into problems that throw a monkey wrench into the whole process that we need to sort out to make it as easy as possible to implement. Here is an example of one of those problems along with a solution that not only lets us continue using the function but also helps us stay in the habit of using our Evernote email capability.

Note that while this problem affects Android users, it might not affect those using IOS. Nevertheless, the solution should work for everyone.

Using voice capture with Google Assistant

In 2018, we could use the Google Assistant on Android phones and tablets to create notes in Evernote with a “Note to self” voice command. On the first use, the Google Assistant would ask you where you wanted to save the note, and we could then train it to use Evernote as the default app.

This ability was great – “OK Google, note to self. I have a fantastic idea for a new product.”

Boom, you have a transcribed note that appears in your default notebook, and we are off and running. This is a fantastic function to have when you need a way to capture hands-free, say, during the commute home in the afternoon.

Google made a change that broke this function

Unfortunately, Google added an update that seemed to break this function in their assistant. At the beginning of 2019, Google Assistant started hijacking the note command. Afterward, any command like “take a note” would send the information into its own notes system, which seems to be some remnant of Google Keep. This system is very limited, the notes are difficult to find, and it’s impossible to use them anywhere else outside their ecosystem.

Serious Evernote users have been trying different commands, but many attempts to find a workaround haven’t worked. The most promising solution is to use IFTTT (If This Then That) to have your notes converted and sent back to Evernote through a series of redirects. Sure it works, but I don’t see doing an IFTTT implementation just to fix this problem, and I haven’t found enough other reasons to use the app that warrant keeping it around.

While others have tried to get Google to listen to the problem, it seems they have their fingers in their ears on this issue.

The workaround using Evernote’s email function

I’ve found that we have an easy workaround at our disposal that uses the email functionality of Evernote to create notes through Google Assistant.

In your phone, you’ll need to make a new contact named “Evernote” that uses your Evernote email address. If you aren’t already using it, you’ll find it under Account Info. It’s a long, “unguessable” string followed by “” Verify that you have the contact available with that email set as the default.

Once you have that setup, here’s the process:

  1. Say “Ok Google, email Evernote.”
  2. The Assistant will confirm with a lot of chatter, rereading the note, and then asks you to confirm by saying, “Send it or change it?”
  3. Say “Send it.”

Any notes that you create with this method will appear in your default notebook. Note: Google Assistant has a short fuse for pauses when you are speaking so be careful not to stop talking or you will end the note too soon and you’ll have to say “Change it.” when prompted. At that point, you’ll have to redo the whole message.

While this is a little more cumbersome than the older 2018 method, it does have a few advantages because:

  1. It would be tough for Google to make another change that disables this method since we are technically just using email.
  2. This is another way to get in the habit of sending emails to Evernote – a big part of my system.
  3. There is no need for fiddling around with IFTTT or another third-party solution
  4. The method also works with Siri (IOS). I have clients on both sides of the aisle that confirmed.

Of course, we cover all this and more in our course on attention management and productivity, Do Busy Right

If you find this useful or have found another method, let us know in the comments.