Google Keep now available, fails to impress

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 20, 2013
Updated • May 6, 2013

Google Keep, Google's newest pet project, is now available if you directly open this url in your web browser. It does not appear to be linked yet on Google Drive though, but that feature is likely to come in the future.

So what is Google Keep? It is a mix of the retired Google Notebook and Gmail Tasks. When you open the Keep website, you are greeted with the type note screen that you can use to add new notes to your online storage.

Each note consists of a title and text that you add to it, and optionally additional elements that you can add using the icons displayed in the note's footer area. Here you can assign a color to the note, upload images from your local system, or create a to do list or task list instead.

It does not seem possible right now to combine a note with a task list which is somewhat of a drawback. Existing notes can be archived which removes them from the main screen and makes them only available in the archived notes section of the site, or trashed which deletes them outright and removes them as well as a consequence.

Google has released an official Android application for Keep that users of the product can make use of to create and manage notes and tasks on the go.  The Android version supports a couple of features that the web-based version does not support. You can create voice notes that are transcribed automatically for instance or take notes right from the homescreen using widgets. Note that you need at least Android 4.0 to run Google Keep on your system.

Google Keep appears to be a very basic product right now, not comparable in any way to established products such as Evernote. It is likely that the product will be improved in the future to add missing functionality to it. I for one won't be using it at all, as mentioned in this previous article.

What's your take on Google Keep? Will you be using the service?


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  1. Don McCall said on April 18, 2013 at 11:40 am

    It’s surprising that you completely disregarded Google’s propensity to rapidly improve and integrate their products. Less than a month after your review, Google has already added the ability to create lists and audio notes, add photos, create checkable lists, sync to Google Drive, and share them from the Android app (not currently from the website). That actually eliminates all but one of your gripes.

    You honestly just sound like you have a gripe with Google. No company is going to maintain unprofitable or lightly used products…not one that is successful, and Google is very successful. For a basic product that does what 90% of what people need a notetaking app/service to do Google Keep hits the spot. In a year it will likely do even more than Evernote can.

  2. Jim Carter said on March 25, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    Google Keep is exactly what I was waiting for. It’s simple and it works. Most of my notes will have a very brief shelf life, so complexity is exactly what I DON’T want. My only wish would be some sort of integration with Google Now.

    1. BobbyPhoenix said on March 25, 2013 at 2:15 pm

      It does have Google Now integration. Try opening Google Now, and say “Note to self.” It will record the note, and save it to Keep. At least it does for me.

  3. Rameez said on March 22, 2013 at 3:17 am

    As Google shut down its Reader Service from 1st July 2013 which is a very sad news for the Reader’s fans and so such similar project will be launch or no news for any other unless you have mentioned here about their latest new project Google Keep, and thats a habit of Google to keep in news of I.T market.

  4. Ken Saunders said on March 22, 2013 at 1:36 am

    I can use Lightning in Thunderbird or a myriad of Firefox add-ons (I use I prefer to store my data locally and not online or in the cloud. There are still ways to sync it and/or make it portable.
    There are other services for collaboration. One that comes to mind is (the open source) Etherpad.

  5. Andrew said on March 21, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    For a basic function I do find it odd they only allow on droid 4.0+. Google has been disappointing me a lot lately.

  6. Boray Eris said on March 21, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Don’t use Google Keep. We don’t know when will Google be bored from the project and close it.

  7. BobbyPhoenix said on March 21, 2013 at 9:08 am

    Been using it a while now (since it came out that is), and I really like it. I use AK Notepad as my main note app, but Keep seems to be better so far.

  8. insanelyapple said on March 21, 2013 at 7:59 am

    Yet anothery way to milk data from users? And of course everything that will be uploaded to Keep is in Google possesion?

  9. Morris said on March 20, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    I’ve been sold on Evernote for quite some time because of its versatility – both in its formatting and its ability to receive & send from different devices with different OS’s.

    Google Keep would have to come a long way to beat my bias towards Evernote.

  10. Rodalpho said on March 20, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    I use simplenote (for quick notes) and evernote (to catalog my brain).

    After Reader, I don’t trust google not to kill any service without clear monetization. So I’ll use them for gmail and maps, but not notes or any other random google experiment doomed to be “spring cleaned” this time next year.

  11. Nebulus said on March 20, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    Let’s bet on how much time it will survive until it will be closed by Google :)

    1. Mushaf said on March 21, 2013 at 7:58 am

      I’m in.

  12. Daniel said on March 20, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    They can keep it!

  13. Gary said on March 20, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    Going back to basics

  14. rpwheeler said on March 20, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    As I wrote before, I use Simplenote service/apps. Don’t see anything attractive in the Google keep.

  15. Anony Mouse said on March 20, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    Right. And what about importing/exporting thousands of notes in a format you could easily transfer to something else? What about mark-down or something along those lines for some more formatting variety?

    I have my notepad for simple/basic. Thank you.

  16. RG said on March 20, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    Minimalist is ok, the problem is “elsewhere” now. Random closures are silly and make no mistake about it Google Reader closure was not based on lack of demand.

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