Is Google Keep Better Than Evernote?

Google KeepOn the heels of announcing the demise of Google Reader (and several other services), Google has launched a new note-taking app called Google Keep, which has as its tagline “save what’s on your mind.” Keep is currently an Android app, which requires Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or higher, and a web app (under the Google Drive brand). I imagine an iOS app is forthcoming, but there’s no word from Google on that yet.

Most are comparing Google Keep to Evernote (and, to a lesser degree, OneNote). While there is some overlap, Evernote is still a much more robust product with a bigger feature set and far greater device compatibility. Google Keep has an attractive user interface and is being met with a pretty positive response—an average rating of 4.4/5 stars in the Google Play store so far, but it’s presently nowhere near Evernote’s capabilities.

Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of Google Keep vs. Evernote:

Pros of Google Keep / Cons of Evernote

  1. Easier to make and manage checklists. Checklist is a note type. You can easily drag-and-drop to reorder items.
  2. Easier to dictate a note and have it transcribed.
  3. Possibility of deeper integration with Android and the Google ecosystem.
  4. Set note colors, perhaps as a way to categorize your notes.

Cons of Google Keep / Pros of Evernote

  1. No rich-text editing. No ordered or unordered lists, no hyperlinks, no bold or italics, etc.
  2. No ability to clip web pages.
  3. No ability to attach documents like PDFs, Word docs, Excel spreadsheets, etc., though I imagine we’ll see Drive and Docs integration eventually.
  4. No OCR-like functionality.
  5. No notebooks or tags or similar tools for organization.
  6. No integration with Google Tasks.
  7. No collaberation.

So is Google Keep better than Evernote? For me the answer is clearly a no. Does it have the potential to get there? Perhaps, but it’s not clear what Google’s long-term plans are for it. For the Google user looking for very basic note-taking functionality who doesn’t need all the bells and whistles that Evernote offers, Google Keep might be the better choice.

Google Keep won’t be replacing Evernote for me anytime soon—at least not without addressing most of the issues mentioned above. But it does look like a nice app worth keeping an eye on. And the competition in the note-taking space means we all benefit.

Learn more about Keep in this overview video.

If this does turn into a winner, let’s just hope that they don’t pull the plug on it in a few years in a future round of spring cleaning.

What do you think about Google Keep? Do you see it becoming your go-to note-taking app?

See also my list of other Android apps.

, , , ,

7 Responses to Is Google Keep Better Than Evernote?

  1. Brian Williams March 21, 2013 at 7:21 am #

    I agree, I don’t think it will replace Evernote for a long while. However, if the integration with other Google features like Drive and Calendar is elegant, the transition for many Google diehards will be simple. Convincing everyone else, now that is a different story.

  2. Andreas March 21, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

    I don’t trust google to support these services into the future. The recent demise of google reader was a massive wake-up call. I am moving everything I rely on for my work away from google, ideally to paid for services with a business model based on the product they are selling.

    • Carlos March 21, 2013 at 10:28 pm #

      Why is it that so many people think that just because they are shutting down Google Reader that every service they have is suddenly in jeopardy? Google is not the first nor the last company to close down a service. Even paid services go belly up. I’ve had that happen to me but I just moved on. Living in fear that some service may be shut down in the future is no reason not to try it or use it on a regular basis today.

      • Doc Herbst March 22, 2013 at 6:09 am #

        @Carlos

        I cannot think a paid service could reasonably be guaranteed to last a lifetime. Agreed.

        But in my experience, a mature and successful firm such as Ever does not go bankrupt in 2 years’ time. Nor stops products abruptly like Google did with GReader. Why don’t they do it as abruptly ? Because users *pay*.

        It’s not Google. Agreed.

        It’s paid services by middle to big size firms v/ free services. Paying increases a lot the chances you’re going to get stability. It does not guarantee it, though, thats’s right.

  3. Joel Muddamalle March 21, 2013 at 7:32 pm #

    Not any time soon. It’s missing some key components but definitely worth keeping an eye on.

  4. Spike Pecan March 22, 2013 at 11:02 am #

    It’s a joke to even ask the question whether Keep is “better” than Evernote, or OneNote, for that matter. They’re not even in the same class. As anyone who has used it extensively knows, Evernote is a rich note-taking and research tool with potential uses that far eclipse the embryonic Keep. A list of seven “Cons” vs. Evernote is ridiculous; I could list 20 or more with ease.

    If any company other than Google had released Keep and positioned it as “an Evernote killer,” they would be ridiculed. Keep is, at best, a Google Drive extension. Granted, it makes Google Drive better. But it will take magnitudes of evolution and innovation before it would even approach the utility and capabilities of Evernote.

  5. Tim O April 2, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

    I am using it as a “quick” capture front end for Evernote, Springpad idone this and email. Its not a replacement but its a good enhancement

Leave a Reply