Google Keep puts your notes in the cloud


— 6:00 AM on March 21, 2013

A couple of days ago, Google acidentally unveiled Keep, its cloud-based note-taking service. Keep was only online briefly before being pulled, but it now appears to be ready for prime time. There's an accompanying YouTube video and everything:

Google Keep looks like a simplified version of Evernote with support for voice recording, images, checklists, and sharing. Notes are stored on Google Drive, and they can be accessed via that service's web interface or using a complementary smartphone app. That app is available only for Android versions 4.0 and higher, according to the official Google blog post, but it seems likely an iOS client will make its way out eventually.

You'll actually need an even more recent version of Android to take full advantage of Google Keep. Although the app's home screen widgets should work on devices running version 4.0 or higher, the included lock screen widgets require at least Android 4.2.

I just installed the Android app on my Galaxy Nexus, and I'm digging the clean interface and easy input options. Note dictation leans on Android's speech recognition engine, which is reasonably fast and accurate. You also have the option of keeping audio recordings of dictated notes. The Google Drive interface isn't quite as colorful, but as with the Android app, users can choose between list and grid views.

As someone who hasn't been entirely happy using Evernote or Google Drive for quick notes, I'm curious to see how Keep pans out. It certainly looks promising. I'm afraid to invest too deeply in the service given Google's recent move to retire Reader, though. Perhaps Keep's integration with Google Drive will ensure its future.

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