Google Rolls Out Evernote Competitor


Google has activated a new cloud-based digital notebook service. The newly launched "Google Keep" functions as a venue for the storage of a wide variety of notes, in a move that is likely intended to threaten the market shares of services such as Evernote.

According to the official Android blog, "With Keep you can quickly jot ideas down when you think of them and even include checklists and photos to keep track of what’s important to you," wrote Google Software Engineer Katherine Kuan. "Your notes are safely stored in Google Drive and synced to all your devices so you can always have them at hand."

The service also supports voice memos -- a feature that is not currently offered by Evernote. The Google service also has a search functionality that can help users find additional information they might want to save, archive or discard after a single read. Notes can be color-coded in order to help support easy retrieval, and the notes can also be converted into a checklist by adding check boxes. All data is stored in the cloud and accessible at http://drive.google.com/keep.

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Google Keep is available on Google Play for Android devices running version 4.0 and higher. The system also includes a lock screen widget to make saving desired data more convenient, but this feature is only available on devices running Android 4.2 or higher. The blog also suggests that cross functionality with Google Drive will be coming soon.

Android enthusiasts were accidentally given a sneak preview of the service over the weekend when the service had temporarily been taken live for apparent testing. It was taken down shortly after the site was discovered, but has now been restored, with the company's expectation that it is now ready for use.

But, some early users on the Google Play website's comment section are already calling upon Google to extend the functionality of the service.

"This app is just a plain app to take notes," wrote commenter Michael Bau. "You can record audio notes, include pictures, and write text with your keyboard, and make lists. That's pretty much it. Other than that I would love to see a way to add deadlines and alerts to notes, and some kind of drawing support. I would love to replace Wunderlist with Keep, but it's not quite there yet."

PUBLISHED MARCH 20, 2013