Google Keep Gets A Big Update

Google Keep Gets A Big Update

While Google has been one of the leaders when it come sto many cloud apps, they’ve lagged behind the likes of Microsoft OneNote and Evernote when it comes to becoming the place where we store random bits of information. But they’re trying to change that with a significant update to Google Keep, their note-taking platform. Let’s take a look at what’s changed and whether Keep can eat into their competitors’ market share.

Google Keep is all about saving random bits of information like notes, photos, voice memos, and checklists. It uses Google Drive to store that data centrally so it can be synched and acceded from other devices and computers.

The user interface is very simple. A small panel lets you choose between scribbling on the screen, typing a note, taking a photo or recording some audio.

Notes can be labelled, which works in the same way as Gmail where a label is similar to a folder.

Taking notes was easy enough but I did find it annoying that when I shot a photo or created a drawing that it wasn’t placed in my note where the cursor was. As you can see in the picture below, taken with Keep running on my iPad, the photo I shot on the train and picture I drew using my finger on the screen were stored at the top of the note and into inline with my text.

So, as a note-taking app for students and workers at presentations and seminars, it still needs some work.

However, Keep does have one special arrow in its quiver. It’s able to recognise text in images. So, if you shoot a pic of a slide during a presentation, you can search for text from the slide. Simialrly, if you grab a pic of a page from a book or newspaper, you can search for the clipping easily.

Google is facing stiff competition when it comes to workplace productivity. Microsoft has been improving their producitivity and collaboration tools regularly and other tools, like Dropbox, are adding features regularly.

If I was starting out, looking for a note-taking app and wanted to leverage my Google account then Google Keep looks like a reasonable tool. But OneNote and Evernote offer far richer, albeit different, functionality.


  • I wouldn’t place Keep in the same category as OneNote. I use both extensively but for different purposes.
    Keep’s great for quickly pinning some information, lists of links to read later, or building checklists (including which can be added to via Google Assistant). I probably use it more like Pinterest than OneNote.
    I use OneNote for anything more meaty. And lots for work where the ability to embed files, printouts and generally have good Office integration works for me.

    • That’s a great insight. thanks for sharing. It’s similar to how I use Evernote and Notability side by side. Both have different strengths and complement each other.

  • You should probably mention some of the actual new functionality they released recently. Like the ability to toggle grid lines in drawings and nested lists. You can slide a check box sideways now to make a sub-list under an existing check box.

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