Skip to main content

Keep - Inbox - Drive - Evernote --- can you make up your mind Google???

Google, I love you to death. Most of the services I use are from you, and thanks BTW, but you are making me crazy with your unfocused emulation of Evernote.

I've been a fan of Evernote since 2008.  I even wrote a book about it that was on the market for a while,  and might be again if I can find time to update it.

The whole time I've thought Google should buy Evernote.  Google is all about finding information on the web.  Evernote is all about capturing the information you find on the web.  Plus information you scan, PDFs you receive, photographs you have, files you want to store and sound files.  It even deciphers the text in the photos and PDFs and make it searchable.*

More about Evernote later on.

I waited, and waited, and never did Google buy Evernote.  I thought that was a no brainer.

And then, one fateful day in March of 2013, as I sat waiting for my order in my favorite Chinese Restaurant, I read Google's announcement of Keep.  I downloaded it immediately.

This is why they hadn't bought Evernote, I thought. They were working on their own answer to the same need.  Only it was more Googlier than Evernote's solution.

It was not Evernote -- not nearly as robust -- but it was a start.  I could see where they were going with it.  Soon there would be a Web Clipper, followed by an API.

I rushed home and looked for more information about it.  When I couldn't find a Google Plus Community for Keep, I created one.  It is now approaching 7000 members.


Only yesterday, over three years later, did a Chrome Web Clipper for Keep.  It came along with a number of other improvements.  It's nice, but it doesn't capture an entire web page as Evernote does, just a link to it.

OK, that's still useful.  Not great, but not useless.

And there still is not an API.  Google has APIs for almost everything.  An API to Keep would let people build converters to move data to Keep from Evernote and Onenote.  It would let IFTTT and Zapier make recipes as they have for Evernote.

OK, Keep is Google's mechanism, perhaps slowly developing, for capturing and storing data.

Not so fast.

Yesterday, Google also announced another Chrome Extension for capturing web pages.  This ones saves the link to Google Inbox (or emails the link).

So we can capture web pages to Google Inbox, and Google Keep.  Focus Google, focus.  Do you have a central vision on all of this?

I just scanned the list of sessions for Google IO coming up next month.  Alas, no Keep sessions.  I wish someone at Google would fill us in on their hopes and dreams for this product.  The lack of a consistent vision worries me.

Meanwhile, I'll continue to use Keep in addition to Evernote.  Evernote is my heavy hitter, Microsoft Word to Keeps Notepad if you will.

Important notes I want to have forever, I keep in Evernote.

Keep is my scratch pad.  Grocery lists, this week's time worked, notes I need for less than a day go into Keep.

And Evernote just released a new version for Windows.  Its search is faster and much more useful.  There's too much to go into now, so check out their blog.

But overall, it seems much faster and looks cleaner.  I am smitten again with Evernote.  Looks like Evernotes vision and Google's lack of vision will keep me in Evernote for a long time.

* some features may require a paid plan from Evernote


  1. I agree. Keep has possibilities.

    I don't think it will ever be an Evernote killer, I think it is designed to be light weight and cross platform. It copies everything to every client. Without selective copying, it will quickly overwhelm low-storage devices.

    I suspect it will always be the notebook app that is everywhere.

    I can live with that. Folders would be nice, and a better clipper, but generally, I think Keep is fulfilling it's promise.



Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Recording your own notes with Google Voice

Note :   April 2016:  Frankly I don't know if this works anymore.  It is 7 years old.

I stopped using this when Google Now became useful on my phone, and I could dictate reminders using it.

I found a way a while ago to use Google Voice to record a personal note, transcribe it, and email it to me. A recent Lifehacker post "Five Things We'd Like to See in Google Voice" lists that need as their #5 request, so I realized what I'd figured out is not common knowledge.

In GV's Contacts, create a Group "Special Transcription"

To avoid listening to my standard voice mail when I call, I recorded a short voice mail greeting for this group simply saying "Record note now"

I added a contact with my own cell phone number as the only number, and made it the sole member of this group.

In GV's phone settings, I edited the settings for my cell phone. In the section "Direct access to voicemail when calling your Google number from this phone?" I se…

Planning for a post Evernote era - Part 1

The Evernote world is aflutter this week after Tech Crunch said that following the departure of several key high level people, Evernote might be in a "death spiral".

While I hope that does not happen, even if they do survive, we should all plan for their demise.  No app and no company is forever.  Indeed, for every piece of software we use, we should ask ourselves, "Is any of the data managed by this program something I would need if this program no longer was being updated?"  And in the case of software like Evernote, if its back end servers were turned off forever.

If the data is required, we need to figure out how to get the data out of the program, and readable without the program. One should actually ask and answer the question before they begin using a new piece of software and loading our precious data into it.

I'll be writing more about this topic and Evernote. For now, know that even if Evernote shut off its servers tomorrow, your data remains in your…

Google could let any developer make the next Evernote

After trying loads of Task apps over the years, I have settled for now on a combination of Taskary and Google Tasks.  What they have in common is they both use Google Tasks to save the tasks.

If a new task app catches my eye tomorrow, it likely will not receive room on my phone or desktop unless it too uses Google Tasks to store its tasks.  That way I do not need to re-enter my tasks for the new app.

This is possible because Google has an API for Google Tasks.  An API or Application Programming Interface lets an app send tasks to Google, and get tasks from them.

Google has a huge collection of APIs into their services.  I just wish they had one more.

I wish for an API for a note taking application.  They may or may not let it be part of Google Keep.  Even if they did not have an app themselves using the API, it would be nice to have an API any programmer could use to develop their own image of what a note taking app looks like.

The data would count against your Google storage. With th…