If you’re looking for a great note-taking and/or task management app, you have probably looked at or tried offerings from Evernote, OneNote, Simplenote, Squid, and others. These are all very good alternatives, with a lot of features, but if you’re well-entrenched in the Google-verse for your daily app and account interaction, there may be a great option for you straight from Mountain View itself.
Google has a ton of apps and services. Most folks have heard of a lot of these, including Gmail, Calendar, Maps, and of course, the search engine that started it all. Google has been tweaking and expanding its app lineup over the years, and a relatively newer application that has become a true standout and popular option in its lineup is Google Keep (or simply, “Keep”). Let’s take a walk through of the Keep and how it can help you get organized in your day-to-day. You can download the app from the Play Store here, and can go to keep.google.com to see the desktop version.
What Google Keep Is
Keep is primarily a note-taking application from Google that allows you to quickly add and organize notes and set correlating reminder notifications, that can sync across all your devices.
But beyond this it can also be a pretty good list and task list app, complete with notification reminders based on date/time, or location (Pretty cool getting a reminder to pick up milk at the store upon arriving back into town from work). You can also record photos, audio, and videos to store on Keep.
And with all these functions, Google Keep also provides functions, using labels and color-coding capabilities. All of these functions are very intuitive and icon-based, both in the mobile and desktop versions.
And of course, being from Google, all your app content syncs seamlessly across all your mobile devices, desktop apps, and the web. There’s even a Chrome extension to add notes right from the web page you’re on.
That’s not all. You can also share notes, lists, and reminders with others; whether they have a Google account or not…email is all that is needed.
Combining all of these results in a pretty powerful (and free!) application.
What Google Keep Isn’t
So Google Keep can do quite a lot for you with just a simple download. But it’s not a panacea. First off, while labels and color-coding are available, you can’t combine sets of notes into larger units (think Evernote’s ‘notebooks’). So if you want to share multiple notes/lists with others, you have to send out share invites for each and every note; it can get pretty tedious and difficult to manage which notes are still being shared over time.
While it is very simple and streamlined, it does have some limitations. Example, and this sounds kinda ironic as we’re talking about Google here, but web article clippings are much more organic on other services like Evernote. These other services allow you to grab some or all of a certain web page, while Keep will only copy the URL; this forces to continually re-open the link to see the actual content.
And while the free-ness of Keep is definitely appealing, what you get is all you get; there is no premium/paid options in which to select should you want to access them. Until the folks at Mountain View decide to add a feature, we’re all just waiting around for it to happen. Other note services allow multiple enhanced features through subscription offerings, features that exceed Keep’s capabilities.
Getting Google Keep
This part couldn’t be more simple; if you have a newer Android phone, chances are Keep is already installed as part of the obligatory suite of Google pre-loaded apps. even if it isn’t you can simple download it from the Play Store. Once confirmed you have it, you just log in with your Google account (a lot of times this even isn’t necessary), and confirm you’re cool with Google’s usual requests to access parts of your phone (camera, contacts, etc.).
For the desktop, and as stated before, just go to keep.google.com. No setup required here (assuming you’re logged on to the Chrome browser with your native Google account), less having to login with you Google credentials. All the syncing between devices happens automatically on Google’s end of things.
In my opinion, Google Keep is the best combination of functionality and ease-of-use out there in what can be a pretty cramped marketplace for these types of apps. I personally use it religiously for reminders, lists, and simple note-taking tasks….it’s my digital Post-It note pile, and I would likely be lost without it. You can download the app from the Play Store with this link.