Google Keep is Google's new note-taking app/service launched yesterday. It was leaked on Sunday, but is now available to all via download from Google Play. It allows users to quickly take notes and create lists on their phone which then sync across multiple devices via the cloud and a Google account, keeping notes collected in one place, unlike phone-specific or other alternative "sticky note" apps which can often clutter a phone's homescreen. They can then be accessed through Google Drive, though not directly. For now, users need to visit drive.google.com/keep to see their notes. The desktop version lacks many of the features that the mobile iteration highlights, making it obvious that Google either has lots of development ahead of them or they are encouraging users to create notes using their phones and/or tablets.
Google Keep makes it easy to create new notes by text, photo, or even voice. After using the built-in recording utility, Keep automatically transcribes the audio to text and embeds the recording into the note itself. There are currently eight colors notes can be, including a plain white and a vibrant yellow. To change your notes' default color, change it while using the "Add quick note" option at the top and all future notes will automatically be the color you selected. Notes are displayed in a grid view by default on the main screen, however, there is an alternative list view if that is preferred. Swiping a note to the side removes it from the main screen, but archives it so that it can be referenced in the unforeseeable future. Each note is completely searchable by tapping on the magnifying glass in the right-hand corner. In addition, archived notes can be viewed using the menu icon beside the search icon.
Tapping on a note will open it in a full screen view, where it can be edited and shared. Sharing functions the same as one may expect a Google app to work. Users can share webpages to Keep, too. For example, when sharing a webpage using Chrome, simply select Keep from the list of options. The app will save the page's URL and headline, as well as, a space for an image from the site (this feature often does not work properly at this stage and images are unfortunately absent).
Android 4.0 or higher is required to run Google Keep, but it just does not have the total integration Google fans expect from the operating system. Many Android users are comparing Keep to another popular app, Evernote, which offers similar functionality seamlessly and includes offline support. While comparing the two, it is clear that Evernote proves itself the more polished alternative. In fact, this article was written in Evernote, but since Keep is so new, these growing pains are to be expected. Google will likely refine the app as they receive user feedback. Still, the arguably unfinished product has many wondering if Keep was unveiled too soon; others are saying that it is long overdue. Time will tell if Google Keep can grow and survive where other services, such as Google Notebook, could not.