Storming the Keep: Google Keep and my endless quest for good note taking

imagesI’m a not taking addict. I love jotting things down. If I could do it without looking no nerdy I’d walk around with pads and papers 24 hours a day. Since that’s not always feesible I’m always on the lookout for a good note taking app. Recently I circled back around to Google Keep. 

Keep seems to be something of a secret amongst Google’s vast array of web apps. It was leaked, then sort of launched and for many of us forgotten about. But lately I’ve been using it and I have to say I’ve been impressed.

Keep does one thing that many other note taking apps do not (Evernote for example): Keep leaves things simple. Make a note you get a colored block. Type what you want then click done and poof. Your note is there. Keep allows lists with check boxes, photo notes (for those of us who like to write out stuff on paper and save it), and audio recording (with transcription). Notes are savable and sortable/searchable.

Keep’s simplicity does cut both ways however and one of the things that can be bothersome is the lack of text formatting. Right now you get one font, no text colors and no text editing. For me that’s not that big of a deal since the Android app allows you to share it with whatever you want such as Google Drive so if I want to make my notes fancy I can go ahead. I’d love to see a deeper integration with Google Drive so it’s not a separate app, but I have heard that is coming at some point.

All in all I do find it a little better than Evernote. Now I’m sure everyone is going to come sprinting to Evernote’s defense and if it works for you, great. I have just always found their UI both on mobile and desktop to be really clunky. I find that having all those formatting options is great, but then I’m spending all my time formatting and not note taking. I’m also always wary about that sync thing that has to happen. More often than not I end up with 2 versions and little understanding as to why and how to fix it.

When it comes to simple and efficient, I really do think Google Keep is ahead. When/if they get Drive integration, that will take it to a whole new level of awesome.

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