What Is Google Keep

At its heart, Google Keep is a multi-platform app for taking notes. It’s quick, intuitive, and compatible with pretty much everything.

However, Google Keep is more than the sum of its parts. Google Keep has tons of features you might not be aware of, many of which are extremely useful for anyone struggling with a lot of data on a day-to-day basis.

We’re going to get down to brass tacks and talk about Google Keep’s feature set, how it started, the competition, and what users are saying about.

So, what is Google Keep for?

Who Is Google Keep For?

hand holding phone

Source: Google Keep

Honestly, Google Keep is handy for both creative types and classic Type-A’s.

Artists can make fantastic use of Google Keep. Songwriters can jot down lyrics and notes whenever they like, while writers of every stripe can fill their Keep with worldbuilding, character development, and plot ideas. Even painters and sculptors can benefit – find a good vista or skyline, or heard about a new technique or tool you might want to consider picking up? Type it right into the Keep app on your smartphone.

More left-brained people might use Google Keep to plan schedules, write down addresses, make to-do and shopping lists, all right from the convenience of their palm.

Students can benefit, obviously – if you need to take lecture notes and either forgot your laptop or don’t have a laptop, you can just use your phone or tablet for note-taking. And, because Keep syncs to your Google account, those notes are accessible on any other device.

You can even share the document with other students, either those who couldn’t make it or with those who just want to compare notes.

The Beginning of Google Keep

Google Keep was released in March of 2013, both for web browsers and for the Android platform of phones and tablets. It would be two years until the app was eventually released for Apple products.

Just like all Google apps, it was designed to fill the hole between Google Calendar and Google Docs. Docs is a little large and overpowered for jotting down simple notes – it’s like trying to swat a mosquito with a surfboard.

Google Calendar, on the other hand, is fantastic for scheduling but can be too much for recording simple reminders.

Enter Google Keep, a fairly nimble little app designed for making sure you don’t let anything slip your mind.

What Are Google Keep's Features?

Google Keep has a number of useful features for taking notes, sharing notes, recording voice, setting reminders, and making lists all on a universal platform you can access to matter where you are.

Taking Notes

The primary purpose of Google Keep, it can take notes right from your phone, tablet, or computer. You can save each note in its own file or compile them yourself. These notes can be more like a document – title, and then body – or look like a Post-It, just a quick reminder on a flat, colorful square.

Making Lists

It’s easy to make lists on Google Keep – you can have it create a list when you first make the file, or at any time with the press of a button. These lists can come with or without checkboxes, which are more useful for shopping or to do lists.

Simply click the checkbox and that note gets a line through it and a check mark to let you know it’s done.

Setting Reminders

The Reminder feature is pretty cool – not only can you set a reminder with a time (20 minutes, or, 1pm), you can also tag it with a location. For instance, you could create a reminder for when you pull up into your driveway, like “Put on the parking brake!” or “Bring the trash cans in.”

It’s also a great feature for work – set it for when you arrive (with your most important responsibilities for the day), or when you leave (“Get eggs from the grocery store!”)

Recording Audio

If you get most of your best ideas in the car (or in the shower), you can have Google Keep record audio whenever you like. It will then immediately save the data into the cloud so it won’t be lost. You can play the audio back right from Keep whenever you want or export it to something else or to someone else via the sharing features.

Dictating a letter to your secretary? Do it in Google Keep and share the document with them. Want to send record a guitar tune you just came up with, so you don’t lose it? Record a line of dialogue? A funny accent? A song where you can’t remember who sings it?  

Searching Old Notes

When you’re done with a set of notes, you might delete it, right? With Google Keep, this is not only unnecessary, it’s might not be a good idea. See, if you’re tired of seeing a note you don’t need anymore, just archive it and it’ll disappear from your main screen.

However, the robust search feature built into Google Keep allows you to search current or archived notes. So, while that note may not seem useful now, one day you might have to remember that address or astronomy note, and you’ll be able to find it fast.

What Is Google Keep's competition?

To be sure, Google Keep is hardly the only note-taking app out there.

The primary competitors for your time are EverNote, OneNote, and Zoho Notebook. And to be clear, they’re all great in their own way. EverNote practically invented cloud-stored notes, and still performs the task admirably across multiple apps and interfaces. OneNote is excellent for things like classrooms, a writer’s room, in-depth student notes, etc. Zoho Notebook is newer but has great organization and collaboration features.

However, where Google Keep shines is its lightweight nature and easy-to-use interface. There simply isn’t a note-taking app on the market that’s as fast as Google Keep – you tap the button, it opens right to your notes.

And since the entire point of a mobile note-taking app is being able to quickly jot down an idea, some of the weightier alternatives (like OneNote) aren’t always great at starting quickly.

OneNote is more robust – if you need tons of nested, easily organized documents, files, and images for constant reference, OneNote is your app. EverNote is great at versatility and sharing but can be a little clunky in the UI department. Zoho Notebook is interesting and runs on all browsers but doesn’t always move as quickly because it’s internet-based.

Google Keep has a clean, fast, and colorful UI that’s designed to get your note taken as fast as possible, so you can move on.

What The Reviews Of Google Keep Are Saying

What is Google Keep’s reputation?

The reviews on the Play store are almost universally positive, often remarking on the sharing capabilities and the ease of use.

User Heather Hanson said “Love this app. My husband and I both have it and when I include him in my list...he marks things done at his end and I get a notification,” while user Alay Mehta said “Really handy to build and maintain any kind of list: to-do, supermarket, bills payment, restaurants, places to visit etc.”

As of the time of this writing, Google Keep stands at 4 and a half stars with almost 700,000 reviews.

The consensus seems to be that Google Keep excels at what it set out to do but could use a few features. The most requested feature for Google Keep seems to be password-locked notes, allowing you to record more sensitive information and to encrypt it with a user password.

How quickly it loads is a positive that’s brought up often, as its color scheme and visual simplicity.

It’s hard to argue with 700,000 people, and our own experience with Google Keep gives us nothing but recommendations.

What Is Google Keep's Future?

Unfortunately, there’s no way to know how long Google Keep is going to be around. Google has a history of trying out a lot of new ideas and abandoning the ones that don’t work: Buzz, Notebook, Google+, Code Search, Gears, Directory, Labs, and Slide, just to name a few.

However, Google does tend to keep the ones that worked – Gmail, Docs, Hangouts, etc. And with Keep’s popular reputation and wide-spread use, there’s decent money on betting it’ll stay around for a while.

You can try Google Keep for free at any time – it’s probably already on your phone or tablet.

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