Google Keep note and list taking app review

{ 12 comments }

keep

Two years ago Elizabeth posted a short news article about a new Google application called Keep. I read the post and then promptly forgot about it until a few weeks ago I saw my friend Bill Ray adding things to a list on his Samsung Galaxy S5 one day and I asked him about it. He said the app was called Keep. So I promptly installed it on my LG G3 so that I could check it out. I’ve been using it for several weeks now and really like it. Here’s why.

First of all, it’s free, which is always a good thing.

keep-2 keep-3

It’s also very easy to use because Keep doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles. It is very basic, which I like. It can be used to make notes and lists.  The interface can be set to a multi-column or list view like you see above. The plus sign at the bottom allows you to quickly add a new note, list, image or voice note which is automatically transcribed into text. All four items can have a reminder attached that will alert you at a set time or even when you arrive at a certain location. I personally use Keep for lists. Either for items I need to do or most often, shopping lists.

keep-4 keep-5

Lists can be customized with labels, a colored background and even an image at the top. The items in the list can be rearranged by using your finger to slide them around in the order you desire. As you check off items in your list, you can have them disappear or go to the bottom of the list so that you can easily recycle the list for later use.

My favorite feature is the real time sharing of notes and lists. If you notice in the image above, there’s a face in the lower corner. That’s Jeanne. I have shared a grocery list with her. Now instead of me calling her on Friday afternoon so she can tell me what I need to pick up from the grocery store on the way home, she and I can share a list on our phones. But the coolest thing of all is that the lists can be edited in real time. There have been times when I’ve been adding an item to the list as she’s typing in another item. I could see her entering it in real time. One time we even used Keep as a makeshift chat program which was geeky fun.

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Even better is the fact that lists can be viewed and edited on a larger screen through a web browser. Everything you add syncs across all of your devices so your notes and lists are always with you. There’s even a search option built into the app that will show all entries based on a keyword or even the assigned color.

The only downside to Keep is that the mobile app is only available on Android devices. At least officially. There is a third party iOS app that called GoKeep that you can try, but it asks you to provide your Google credentials to login which made me uneasy to try it. Of course you can just point your mobile browser to http://keep.google.com.

Google’s Keep has become one of my favorite and often used apps. If you are looking for an easy to use note and list taking app, give this one a try.

Source: Keep is free through the Google Play store.

 

Product Information

Price:Free
Manufacturer:Google
Requirements:
  • Android device
Pros:
  • Collaborative features allow multiple people to edit lists/notes in real time
  • Simple interface
  • Easy to recycle lists
  • Voice notes automatically transcribed to text
Cons:
  • Since it's from Google, you never know when they might stop supporting it
Posted in: Android, Reviews
{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Lex April 20, 2015, 6:29 am

    Three thumbs up for Keep. (Julie’s plus my two.) Have been using Keep since Google released it. Combined with the app ‘Repeating Notifications’, Keep has replaced my former reminder apps. Serious or long detailed notes go into Evernote but for the quick, urgent, or timed ToDo stuff, Goog. Keep hasn’t failed me.

    • Julie Strietelmeier April 20, 2015, 8:06 am

      @Lex thanks for the tip about the Repeating Reminders app. I’ll go check it out now too 🙂

  • Anthony April 20, 2015, 9:26 am

    Still no iOS app 🙁

  • Jane P. April 20, 2015, 3:50 pm

    I really like the color coding. That does set it apart from other to-do apps.

    I’m going to check out your iOS alternative.

    Regarding problems of support stoppage – my heart was broken last year when SpringPad shut down — it had the best to-do/check-lists and you got to share with other members of your household.

    My problem with to-do list apps is that they do not coordinate with recipe and cooking apps – where you put together shopping lists for specific recipes. If you are using 2 or more Recipe Apps, you have 2-3 separate shopping lists. Springpad was nice in that you can download recipes from a variety of sources and and automatically create shopping lists. And you could also add product research results to your shopping/to-do lists.

    Anyhow, thanks for this review. It does offer a baseline to compare other apps.

  • Steven Sarens April 22, 2015, 5:05 am

    The to-do-list feature on Google Keep is not very usable for grocery list purposes, because it can’t automatically sort items alphabetically. If you have to look for a product in a list of 100+ recurring shopping products, that becomes a problem…

    • Julie Strietelmeier April 22, 2015, 7:24 am

      @Steven true… but you can rearrange them yourself. I always group my grocery items together so I pick up like items as I’m walking through the store. That seems more useful than an alphabetic list, but that’s just me.

  • Aton E. April 22, 2015, 10:57 am

    There are repeating reminders built into Keep now, no 3rd party app necessary. Also, the voice notes are great. One can search the text in picture notes in Keep. Labels make organization easier too. I agree with Julie, the grocery store isn’t alphabetical so I tend to lean towards the order in which I come upon the items to each their own though. Something else I’ve enjoyed is through Google Now using Keep, “remind me when I get home, start the dishwasher” and it creates a Keep Note based upon location. I walk through the door and soon after DING DING, Keep note pops up. Reminders by location are fun.

    • Julie Strietelmeier April 22, 2015, 11:58 am

      @Aton I didn’t realize Keep was able to search images for text. That’s very cool! And yes for all the Evernote lovers out there, I know this feature has been around for ages…

  • Elizabeth Rodriguez April 22, 2015, 4:09 pm

    Yes, I wish they had a native iOS app! The web version isn’t the quickest. 🙁 Evernote is getting too bloated for what I need, so right now I’m using Simplenote.

  • Devendra Rao April 22, 2015, 11:42 pm

    There is now Quick Keep for Google Keep for Mac OS X 10.10 Mac OS X 10.9 Mac OS X 10.8 Macintosh. It is licensed for USD1.99

  • DL July 7, 2015, 6:07 pm

    Keep is a good app.. I ready like it. It’s even beter If keep have folder so I can organize my note easily

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