If there has been one major hole in Google’s ecosystem it has been the lack of a native note-taking app. Google Play is filled with the likes of Evernote, Catch, and others built around idea saving. It would appear that Google saw a lot of information that was going to other services instead of its Google Drive.
Enter Google Keep - the company’s effort at recording one’s thoughts or short lists. The content in the Android app syncs in real time with Google Keep on the web (full integration isn’t there yet, but Google says it is coming). It has a clever interface that is built to mimic post-it notes without the excessive skeuomorphism of the iOS Notes app.
What I like best is how it is built for rapidly launching a new note. It is perfect for that confirmation number, address, phone number, or other snippet of information that you quickly need to take down. For example, when opening the app it is only one tap to begin writing a new note.
Another clever trick – when you click “show check boxes” it will transform the current text into a list with boxes. Feel free to tick them and clean out the to-do list.
Change the color of notes by tapping the color palette icon on the top right corner. Also, tap and hold a note to rearrange its position within the application. Each app can also be shared with Android’s excellent sharing feature, deleted, or archived.
Google has also built two different type of widgets for the home screen and one for the lock screen. One is a 4×1 or 3×1 widget that will launch a note, task list, voice note or the camera. After snapping the picture Google Keep imports the image into a new note. This same widget can also be added to the lock screen, which can make for even quicker access.The other home screen widget
Much of today’s commentary (always plenty of that online) has focused on lingering anger over the closing down of Google Reader. Many took to Twitter or their blogs to proclaim how they would not again be fooled by another free Google service that may one day disappear.
Overreaction aside, Google Keep is good and worth trying. Google may have larger ambitions beyond just a digital version of Post-It notes, but for now I feel it serves a good niche as a rapid and visually appealing note app. Fortunately if it’s not your thing, or your needs are more demanding, there are plenty of other options for the web and mobile devices.