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There is an abundance of note-taking apps available online, all which offer their own twist on saving your content. Some are feature-rich, while others take a more minimal, “just the basics” approach. If you’re expecting Google Keep to be filled with features from baking a cake to driving your car, you couldn’t be more wrong. But what it does do is excel at being an exceptionally useful notepad that allows you to quickly add notes. Its simplistic approach has earned itself a spot on our Best Of Chrome Extensions page.

Using Google Keep

The first thing you’ll notice in Google Keep is that there is hardly a learning curve, meaning you can begin adding notes immediately – just click in the white box that says “Add note”.

1 Google Keep - new note

Making a list is simple too, and it keeps your crossed-out items by moving them to the bottom of the list. You can also rearrange the items in any order by simply dragging them.

2 Google Keep - Checklist

The reminder feature is super useful and includes both date/time and location. On your computer, you’ll get a pop-up notification in the corner.

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3 Google Keep – Reminder

Not everything you want to add to a note is text though. Whether it’s an image of beautiful scenery you want to remember the location of, or a photo of a business card, you can save it in Google Keep. Either click the “Image Upload” button, or drag and drop it straight from the folder into the “Add Note” text field.

4 Google Keep - Image

You probably figured that Google Keep can search text notes – that’s to be expected – but what’s impressive that you can also search text within images Google Keep Brings Text Recognition To Images In The Latest Version Google Keep Brings Text Recognition To Images In The Latest Version Google Keep is now appears stylized with a new orange action bar. The note-taking app now also gives you a feature to search printed text in images. Read More , known as optical character recognition (OCR).

5 Google Keep - search text in images

Other useful features include color-coding individual notes, arranging them in any way you’d like, and having multiple views.

6 Google Keep - Color Options

The notes resize to the width of the window, but you can also choose to have them displayed in grid or list view.

7 Google Keep - views

Lastly, if you hide a note, you have two options: archive and delete. If you do delete a note, you can restore it if it hasn’t been in the trash longer than 7 days.

Archived and deleted notes, as well as notes with reminders, can all be accessed from the sidebar menu.

8 Google Keep Menu - Notes

Pros & Cons Of Google Keep

The pros and cons of an app like Google Keep are largely dependent on what you expect out of a note-taking app. To some, Google Keep may be missing some significant key features, while to others it’s the perfect app. Keep that in mind as we go through the list.

Pros of Google Keep

Cons of Google Keep

  • No iOS support (though you can still use it in Google Chrome on your Mac)
  • No voice notes for Chrome version
  • Lacking tagging and categories for searching and grouping notes
  • Collaboration with other Google services could improve (e.g. Google Tasks)
  • Notes aren’t transferrable into other services (e.g. Box, Dropbox)

What do these pros and cons mean? First off, they are only pros and cons because of what we expect, and what we expect is due to what we see in comparison to other alternative apps. The question is, are we comparing Google Keep to the right apps?

Alternatives to Google Keep for Chrome

When Google Keep first hit the news Google Launches Keep For Chrome, Lets You Manage Notes, To-Do Lists, & Photos While Offline [Updates] Google Launches Keep For Chrome, Lets You Manage Notes, To-Do Lists, & Photos While Offline [Updates] Google announced on Thursday the release of its latest product: the Google Keep Chrome app. Google Keep for Chrome allows you to jot down notes, cross off to-do lists, and attach photos to various tasks.... Read More , tech enthusiasts and productivity fanatics jumped into it expecting the next big Evernote competitor Google Officially Launches Google Keep, A Free Evernote Competitor [Updates] Google Officially Launches Google Keep, A Free Evernote Competitor [Updates] Rumors about Google Keep being spotted in the wild have been flying around like crazy in the past week. According to Android Police, the note-taking service made a brief appearance on Sunday and vanished as... Read More (or OneNote for that matter), only to find that Google Keep was nothing in comparison to those two note-taking workhorses. And I was no different, until I began studying Google Keep further and reading articles pointing out its highlights. It’s simply not fair to compare an app which is intended for a simplistic purpose to another app with a far greater feature set designed for entirely different reasons. Evernote, which I personally use as my primary note-taker and am an advocate for using it as your go-to place for remembering everything Why You Should Be Using Evernote As Your Go-To Place For Remembering Everything Why You Should Be Using Evernote As Your Go-To Place For Remembering Everything Remember Everything. That’s the Evernote motto and that’s what it allows you to do best. If you aren't familiar yet with Evernote, you’re in for a real treat! If you have heard of it, but... Read More , is meant to do all the heavy lifting. Google Keep, on the other hand, is a light, simple notepad that conveniently syncs to Google Drive How To Use Google Drive To Capture Your Great Ideas & Never Lose Them How To Use Google Drive To Capture Your Great Ideas & Never Lose Them Move over Evernote -- here's how you can use Google Drive to keep and grow your ideas. With the Google tools at your fingertips, put them all to good use for nurturing your ideas. Read More .

With that said, there are some apps Google Keep can be compared with, such as Fetchnotes or Simplenote (see our Simplenote review Simplify Note-Taking & Sync Notes Everywhere With Simplenote Apps Simplify Note-Taking & Sync Notes Everywhere With Simplenote Apps Simplenote and its ecosystem of apps for every platform toss all the superfluous features found in competing note-taking programs and focus on the ones that matter. All Simplenote apps sync effortlessly, with minimal interfaces that... Read More ).

The bottom line is Google Keep is one awesome notepad packed with features.

Download: Google Keep

What is your take on Google Keep? Have you given it a fair shot? Will you now? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

  1. Ed
    January 21, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    It also works on Safari

  2. santi
    June 1, 2014 at 8:43 am

    In one word : Push
    In two words : pushbullet

    its all you wlll ever need too. notes, files, websites, actually I use it to bypass emails. its free and ad free. It syncs with FF, Chrome, android, even my mother and next one surely the bible.
    The only problem is that clearly it will be purchased for a huge amount by one of the companies such as FB, Google, Apple, and we can kiss this simple but effective app goodbye.

    • Aaron C
      June 3, 2014 at 4:53 am

      Thanks for your input, Rick! It's nice to get user-feedback. I'm much of the same way -- using Evernote for more permanent things and Keep for quickly adding temporary notes. I'll often times move the temporary notes to Evernote later with a more thorough input.

      As you pointed out and as I stated in my article, I don't think Evernote and Keep are meant to compete -- they're on two complete different spectrums. For some Evernote is best, for others Keep is best, and for others using BOTH is best, as they can complement each other in many ways.

  3. Rick Shortt
    May 29, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    I really like Keep, and use it quite a bit. I have thoughts about some pretty specific things that I think it excels at, as well as some thoughts about what I think it is less useful for, and how it compares to other apps/webapps I use heavily - like Evernote, Google Tasks, and Google Docs.

    Mostly, I use Keep for quick notes and quick thoughts I expect to be of a temporary nature. And as a result, I rarely have more than a couple dozen notes in it at any given time, so they are really easy to find. Occasionally, there may also be something I think will be more permanent that needs to go in Evernote, but at the moment I don't want to think about what notebook, tags, title, etc. it would need for Evernote. I can copy and paste it later or export it as a text file from the Android app. There are also a few simple notes I leave in Keep permanently that I access very regularly because they are easy to find and access very quickly. Things like a list of movies I want to see, music I hear that I want to get, our weekly menu as a checklist, etc.

    With the proper organization and shortcuts, Evernote can easily do all these things, but is often overkill. Keep opens almost instantly and often makes it a better choice for these types of things, and since I have almost 4,000 notes (and growing) in Evernote, even with the right system, Keep is quicker. Besides, while the Android app for Evernote is pretty damn snappy, the desktop application and even the webapp don't exactly open instantly. So I use Evernote for large numbers of bigger and more permanent things that need deeper organization and more options.

    Keep is also good for some lists, but I find that Google Tasks and the GTasks Android app are better for more general task lists. For example, on a general list of tasks for the upcoming week, there might be any number of things that really all just need to be on a single "To Do" list. Some may have specific due times, and you can set times for individual items on the same list in Tasks, whereas in Keep, you can only set a due date for the entire note/list.

  4. Mitch
    May 29, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    Is there a method to see Keep notes in Drive or export them to Drive? Occasionally, a Keep note will grow to the level of what I want to keep in Drive, yet there seems to be no way to quickly get it there, short of Copy+Paste.

    Might this be a future feature?

    • Rick Shortt
      May 29, 2014 at 4:00 pm

      In the Android app, you can "Share" the note to Drive if you also have it installed.

    • Mitch
      May 29, 2014 at 4:06 pm

      Well, it's not letting me reply to you directly, Rick, so I'll reply to myself regarding your answer.

      Here's where I smack myself in the head for not thinking of this simple fix.

      Thanks. Sometimes you just need to ask the stupid questions, huh? :)

    • Aaron C
      June 3, 2014 at 4:47 am

      Mitch,

      Sorry for not responding to your question sooner (thanks, Rick for the help!) Sounds like you got your question resolved, correct?

      It is quite unfortunate that Google Keep isn't very integrated into many of the Google services. I'm hoping that will change.

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