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Wednesday 17.01.2018 | Name days: Tenis, Dravis

Google Keep: a basic note-taking app, or the start of something big?

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When a note-taking app called Google Keep surfaced briefly the other day, it did so to considerable fanfare. This kind of service has been missing since Google killed off Notebook in 2009, and a competitor to Evernote or Simplenote seemed like something the company could do quite well.

Turns out Keep was leaked only slightly ahead of its time — the app was officially announced this afternoon, and Keep is now available on the web and to Android users.

Keep is incredibly basic. By default it’s a single column running down the middle of a browser page, with a box above it for quickly entering new notes — it looks for all the world like Tumblr‘s dashboard, without the sidebar. It’s simple by design, and Google‘s clearly not understating the matter when it says Keep‘s nearest competitor is the yellow sticky notes on your desk (and your mirror, and your computer monitor, and your children), The Verge wrote.

You can add text notes, upload pictures (including GIFs, which play inline), or quickly make lists, and that’s really it. You can color-code notes, but without a way to sort by color it does little more than add a bit of visual flair. Notes can be deleted or archived — there’s no organizational structure whatsoever, which for an Evernote user like me is both incredibly scary and kind of refreshing — and in classic Google form you’re just supposed to search for whatever you’re looking for.

But if Google can bring the best of its other apps to Keep, it could quickly become an utterly indispensable tool. You’ll soon be able to access Keep files within Drive, so quick notes could quickly become editable documents. What if that were only the beginning? We immediately had visions of being able to jot down notes with Keep and seamlessly email them out through Gmail, or convert the hastily-scribbled “get lunch with Jane on Wednesday” into a Calendar event. What if you could send photos from your Google Glass to your Keep stream, or jot down an address and then have Google Maps navigate you there later? With Keep as a hub and Google‘s many other services as spokes, this simple note-taking app could become a productivity beast.

We’re getting ahead of ourselves, of course. Keep is none of those things yet. For now it’s just simple, fast, and its benefit is immediately obvious — it has all three on Evernote, certainly. But whether Google turns Keep into a power user’s dream app, or has its sights set on 3M and those ubiquitous yellow squares, we’ll be watching.

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