Move over, Evernote. On Wednesday, in the wake of dropping its "read it later" Reader RSS service, Google unveiled a personal note-taking tool, Keep.
Keep is available as an Android app or as a Web service. It resembles a variety of content organization and capture tools, including Google's own Notebook, an information organizer tool that was discontinued in early 2009; Evernote, a popular and growing content aggregation tool that is widely used in businesses; and Microsoft's OneNote.
Screen shots of Keep have briefly surfaced on the Web over the last few months, so its unveiling this week was not a total surprise.
In a post on Google's Official Blog, software engineer Katherine Kuan wrote Wednesday that Keep allows a user to "quickly jot ideas down when you think of them and even include checklists and photos to keep track of what's important to you." Notes, which can be typed, transcribed from voice memos, or consist of pinned photos, are stored in the cloud at Google Drive, synced to all your registered devices, and archived when not needed immediately.
Keep also transcribes voice memos automatically, and has what Google called a "super-fast" search. Notes are presented in the Keep interface in a mosaic layout, can be dragged and dropped as desired or color-coded for quick reference, and users can switch between multi- and single-column view.
For devices running Android 4.2 or later, users can quickly add notes to a locked device via a screen widget. The Web version of Keep has limited functionality, and the company said a version of Keep will also be available within a few weeks directly within Google Drive.
'End Up Being Silos'
The coming inclusion of Keep on Google Drive could fill out some of the missing functionality for Google's cloud-based apps, said IDC's Melissa Webster. She noted that many business users employ Microsoft OneNote, although "they are increasingly turning to Evernote."
Webster added that there have been a number of apps, desktop ones as well as mobile, that have offered the ability to extract and save content, capture thoughts, or collect Web page clippings, "but the problem with a lot of them has been that they end up being silos" of information, can be difficult to use, and sometimes have little ability to annotate, share, or integrate the content.
With so much content from so many sources, not to mention one's thoughts, she pointed out that there is "a big need for a personal content aggregator and integrator," providing the kinds of functions that Evernote and other apps have begun to provide.
Some Google-watchers are wondering if collecting all of their notes into a Google app is a good long-term idea, given its recent shutdown of Reader and its regular "spring cleaning," where the technology giant ends services and apps that have not acquired a large enough base of users.
Posted: 2013-03-21 @ 11:13am PT
No thanks. I was an early, and frequent, user of the Google Notebook that was shut down. It was a real pain to migrate that to Evernote (and then later to OneNote). I was a big user of Google Reader. Shut down last week. There is NO way that I would give this service a try. Especially for something that I depend on so heavily. It will be gone and/or forgotten in a couple of years.
Posted: 2013-03-21 @ 10:59am PT
And so why should I give Google any more of my computing business when they decided to take the Google Reader that many of us use out of commission so easily. That one move reminded me to use best of applications from various vendors and not to lock myself into one company no matter how integrated they might be with their applications. Google is good at trying to emulate others when it sees something that will generate traffic, but in reality that's their only goal, which is fine for a for profit company. But those of us users should also keep these things in mind as we see them launch "me too" applications in the marketplace. So no thank you I will stick with Evernote for this capability.