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Google Keep: Top 5 features you need to know about
Google Keep might not be as feature-packed as Evernote, but it still offers more than just the basics. There are five great feature we think are worth a closer look. Before we get into that, let’s quickly go over the basics of the service.
Google Keep lets you capture what’s on your mind by taking notes on its Android app or web client, automatically synchronizing data between the two in the blink of an eye. The service is free and super easy to use. In addition to Evernote, Keep competes with many services like OneNote, Omni Notes, and ColorNote (see our best note-taking apps for Android to learn more).
You need a Google account if you want to give Google Keep a try. It’s free and only takes a minute or two to set up. The account also gives you access to the rest of Google’s services including Gmail, Calendar, Play Store, Drive, and many others. After you sign up (if you haven’t already), you can download the Google Keep Android app via the button below or use the service in your browser at keep.google.com.
Now that the basics are out of the way, let’s take a look the top five Google Keep features.
Type, talk, draw, or capture
There are four ways to create a note in Google Keep. You can type out your thoughts, just like any other similar app. You can choose between a standard format or a bullet list, which is great for jotting down what have to pick up from the store, among other things.
If you’re feeling artistic, you can also draw a note using your finger on the app or the mouse cursor on your browser. It’s fun and often faster than typing, especially if you own a phone with a stylus like the Galaxy Note 9.
The third option is to create a note with your voice, although only the app supports this feature. Press the microphone icon at the bottom, say whatever you want, and the app will write it out and save the audio recording. This feature also integrates with Google Assistant: just say “Make a note,”then express your thoughts out loud, and Assistant will save it to Keep.
The fourth and last way to create a note is with an image. You can select one from your gallery or capture a new one with your phone’s camera. Then you can leave it as is or add text, a recording, and even a drawing.
Use it anywhere
Thanks to Google Keep’s Android app and web client, you can use the tool just about anytime and anywhere. Keep in mind that while the app does not require a constant internet connection (except for syncing), the browser version does.
The notes you create sync between all the your devices at lightning speed. You can instantly see a note made on your phone on your computer through Google Keep’s website.
Read next: All the new Gmail features explained
Google Keep also integrates with Gmail. Notes are now viewable from your inbox using the new Google Keep icon on the right side, without using the tool’s app or dedicated website. You can also create new notes from within Gmail by clicking the “Take a note” option or by highlighting text in an email, right-clicking, and choosing “Save selection to Keep”.
Alerts and reminders: Don’t forget the milk
You can create time and location-based reminders for all your Google Keep notes. That way, you’ll never again forget to pick up milk on your way home from work or call your mom to wish her a happy birthday, which will help you avoid all the unnecessary family drama — thanks, Google!
Tap the bell icon, enter the details, and you're good to go.
To create a reminder, just tap the bell icon up top when creating a note and enter all the required details, as shown in the image above. You can also add a reminder to an existing note — just long press on it, tap the same icon, and go from there.
All the notes with reminders can be seen under the “Reminders” tab within the app and on the web. The feature even integrates with Google Calendar, which also shows you all the reminders you have created.
We’ve all come across an interesting article on the web without the time to read it. The old way of handling this would be to email it to yourself and read it later, which is far from perfect. A better method is to use Google Keep.
Whenever you stumble upon something interesting while browsing the internet on a mobile device, tap the More Actions icon (three vertical dots) in the upper-right corner of Chrome, select share, and tap the Google Keep icon. A window will pop up, allowing you to add a label to the note and save it.
Here’s a tip: create a “Read later” label, so you’ll be able to see all the content you’ve saved in one place. You’re welcome!
The story is a bit different on your computer. You first need to download the free Google Keep extension from the Chrome Web Store. Then you can click the “Save to Keep” icon in the upper-right corner of the browser to instantly save the interesting things you may find. You can add a label and text to the note here too.
Read next: 10 best offline apps for Android
There are already dedicated apps on the Play Store for saving content for offline reading, the most popular being Pocket. You could just use that, but if you’re already using Keep, it might make more sense to store everything in one place — your call. Just keep in mind Pocket is much more feature packed.
Ship notes to Google Docs
This is a feature you won’t find in the vast majority of other note-taking apps. With just a few taps, you can send a note created in Google Keep to Google Docs, which has more options to customize notes. For example, Google docs allows you to change the color and size of the text, the font, and use headings, unlike Keep.
Docs also makes it easier to share files, letting you see how many people are viewing it, who edited it last, and so on. It’s great for businesses, students, and even just friends planning stuff together.
To send a note to Google Docs on mobile, long press one in Keep, tap the More Actions icon (three vertical dots) in the upper-right corner, and select “Copy to Google Docs.” That’s all there is to it. You can do the same thing via the web client by hovering the mouse over a note, clicking the same icon, and then selecting the “Copy to Google Docs” option.
There you have it, folks. These are the top five features of Google Keep. The tool has a lot more to offer, so let us know which ones would you add to the list in the comments!