Google KeepThis evening, everyone in the tech world is talking about Google Keep, Google’s answer to Evernote. So if I were reading, I’d want to know how it compares to Evernote. Fortunately, right now Keep is a really simple app, so the question is easy to answer.

The biggest difference right now between Keep and Evernote is device accessibility. The only devices right now that can take full advantage of Keep are those running Android 4.2+ (Jelly Bean). To run it at all requires at least Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich).

So if you’re running an iOS device or an older Android device, you’re out of luck. Since less than half the Android devices are running 4.0 or later, that means a lot of you can’t use it.

But if you can install it, I have to say it’s pretty nice.

Not much there? Well, I just installed it!

It’s easy to add a note. Just click one of the buttons at the top. The checkmark gives you automatic lists, which is nice for a quick grocery or to-do list. You can even add color to your notes, to make them more like stickies. Of course, you can create voice notes and save pictures in Keep.

Everything syncs to Google Drive, so your notes are backed up and available from the Web.

If you are running Android 4.2, you can install a lock screen widget that allows you to add a note without unlocking your device.

Awesome! A thief can write notes to himself without unlocking the device!

So why would you want to stick with Evernote? There are lots of reasons, even if you own a device that can run Keep.

First, you don’t have to own a device that runs Android 4.0 or later. If, like me, you have iOS and Android devices, you’re limited in access to your Keep files.

There’s no equivalent to Evernote’s Web clipping, which is one of my biggest uses of Evernote. However, Keep does show up as a “Share to” app from other apps, which is a nice feature. I can see sending some things to Keep and others to Evernote.

There’s not yet any way to tag or categorize notes with Keep, and there’s no notebooks like in Evernote. One of Evernote’s biggest advantages is categorization. I have over 600 notes in Evernote, and I can manage them with ease. Right now, I couldn’t do that with Keep.

Right now I see Keep as a complement to Evernote. I’ll probably use it for quick, throw-away type notes that I only need to keep for a few days, at most. For serious online archiving, I think Evernote is still the clear winner. However, I suspect this is just the beginning. Hopefully Google won’t disappoint users by getting us hooked on it and then yanking it away like they did with Google Reader. For me, that’s the biggest reason to use it with caution right now.


  1. Two words about Google Keep: Google Notebooks.

    I kept all my stuff in there for years, then google cancelled Notebooks. I drank my coffee to iGoogle and Google Reader for years too, both of which are headed to the trash pile. I’m taking a pass on any new Google thingie.

  2. I am still mourning Reader’s imminent demise. That was a real boneheaded move on Google’s part. I have an Android phone but I don’t know if I will invest the time it would take to learn Keep. It would feel a tad like dating a guy after he cheated on his girlfriend with her sister. Could you ever really trust him?

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