A few months ago I became an Android user. While the drawbacks were relatively few and far between, there just didn’t seem to be a native note taking app for Android. That is until today.
The new app, native to Android only, at least so far, is called Google Keep. It’s ridiculously simple, which is a bit counter to other note taking apps, such a Evernote. That said, it’s not nearly as feature rich, but that’s what makes it so enjoyable and easy to use.
Those running Android 4.0 or later can download Google Keep now from the Google Play store. Just pick an email address to sync it with, and you’ll be in business. Notes on your Android device automatically appear in the Google Keep web login, so whatever device you’re on, you can access them.
Unfortunately, GIFs, as in short low rez movies, can only be uploaded via the web login, though both points of access allow for pics to be added to Google Keep. Creating a text note is as simple as typing. Once you start typing it’s instantly saved, which is akin to Google Drive when you start a new document or spreadsheet. While Google Keep appears to be devoid of OCR (optical character recognition – available in Evernote), you can search through your notes by keyword, as well as color code them (visually only – not sortable by color).
There are two views: single column view, and multi column view. The latter is visually more appealing in my opinion, but in either view the notes are sorted by the date they were added. Notes can be started as “checklists” or converted to check lists. Unfortunately, you can’t have both in one note.
What makes Google Keep particularly useful, aside from its all together simplicity, is the app’s speed at which it runs and syncs to the web. I just ran a few tests and experienced an error while trying to reload the Google Keep page, but it seems that has now subsided – probably likely from the hit they’re taking from people like me testing it out.
As I mentioned OCR isn’t available, and Google Keep hasn’t been fully rolled into Google’s ecosystem, though it is accessible from your Google Drive account. Moreover, notes can only be shared via the Android app, which seriously lowers the utility of Google Keep, at least on the web. And while GIFs can be synced (not uploaded) to both the Web, and the Android app, they only appear as a single frame on my Nexus 4 – they won’t playback. Annoying? Yes, especially since sharing GIFs, as well as capturing them, could be fun.