Recently, Google released Google Keep. Google Keep is a note taking application available on the web and as an Android app. It seems Google Keep is entering into a crowded market of note taking apps. However, being integrated with other Google services and it's simple interface make it a pretty good option for note takers. As always if you would rather watch the video, it's posted at the bottom.
Google Keep is a really simple application to use. There are a total of five ways to take notes with this application. The first is to use the quick note feature at the top of the main screen. This is a nice way of putting down a sentence or two into a note quickly without any hassles. Once it's completed, it takes the qualities of a regular text note. This brings us to our second method which is the regular text note. Using this method, you can write down a note, memo, etc and make it as long as you want it to be. During testing we were unable to find a character limit so you can probably write a novella in there if you want to.
Next is the checklist note. It's formatted in a list view so you can make a list without any special actions on the part of the user. You can do a grocery list, a to-do list, or whatever kind of list you can think of. The fourth method is by using the picture note feature. When you use this note method, the camera app opens up. You snap a picture of whatever you want to take a picture note of and it loads it into a note for you to remember. An option is to add text to the picture so you can remember why you took the picture.
The last method is really two methods rolled into one and it's the voice note feature. In the Google Keep app, you can record a note with your voice. Google Keep then saves that audio file so you can listen to it again later. It will also dictate the audio so you can read it. During our testing, Google Keep did a great job with the voice dictation. Also, as per the norm, you can add text. The second part of this feature is you can use Google's Voice Search from anywhere in the phone to leave a voice note. Simply start by saying “note” or “take a note”, then say what you want noted down. Voice Search will port that audio into Google Keep for you and create a new voice note.
Once you've got yourself a library of notes, there are a variety of ways to interact with them inside of Google Keep. You can share them to any social network you want, for starters. If you long press a note, you can drag it around and re-arrange notes at your leisure. When you're finished with a note, you can either delete it by long pressing or archive it. You can go and see your archived notes at any time from within Google Keep. Also, you can assign colors to your notes so that you can immediately tell what they are for. For instance, you can make all your lists blue and all your voice notes red. So when you see blue, you know it's a list.
In addition, if you log into your Google account and go to drive.google.com/keep, you can access the web application. It's very similar in layout and functionality to the mobile version of Google Keep. There you can view any notes you have and create new ones. All notes created are synced to everything, so web notes can be seen on mobile and mobile notes can be seen on the web. This is a very handy feature of Google Keep. Finally, if you are running the latest Android, there is a Google Keep widget you can put on your lock screen to take notes without even unlocking your phone.
Overall, we quite enjoyed Google Keep. While it may not be able to go toe-to-toe with other note taking applications in terms of features, it's more than makes up for it in other ways. The simple interface, the easy-to-use features, and the variety of ways to take notes makes this a great app for advanced or beginner note takers alike. Also, we really liked that it works so well with Google Drive and Google Voice Search.
The only caveat we could think of is that there is no handwriting notes. So if you use a stylus or have a device that comes equipped with a stylus, you won't be able to use for handwriting apps. If that is your primary form of note taking, then Google Keep may not be for you.
To give it a try, you can find it in the Google Play Store. Having trouble finding it? Here's a link to the Google Play Store download.