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Google Launches 'Keep' To Rival Evernote 205

Today Google launched 'Google Keep', a mobile note-taking service to rival software like Evernote. It works on devices running Android 4.0 or later, and there's also a web interface (which is struggling under launch load as of this writing). Google describes the service thus: "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. Your notes are safely stored in Google Drive and synced to all your devices so you can always have them at hand. If it’s more convenient to speak than to type that’s fine—Keep transcribes voice memos for you automatically. There’s super-fast search to find what you’re looking for and when you’re finished with a note you can archive or delete it." Fans of Google Reader will probably be a bit hesitant to pick this up.
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Google Launches 'Keep' To Rival Evernote

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Remember when Google used to innovate?

    • No (Score:5, Insightful)

      by oGMo ( 379 ) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @05:38PM (#43228087)

      You mean when they made a search engine? Or a webmail client? Or online maps? Or office apps? Or an RSS reader? Or a calendar? Or a finance site? Or a chat program? Or a photo site? Or an online store? Or a social site? Or a phone OS?

      None of these things are "innovations", none of them were particularly innovative, and they weren't doing any of them first (or even early), but in many cases they were better/easier/free-as-in-beer-er than the alternative. Which is fine. And they made money on it. Which is great. And when they stop working (like Reader), we'll find something else, or write something else. Since they make getting your data out pretty easy, that's not even hard.

      And if you've become complacent where if Google doesn't offer it, you can't find it, that's not innovation... that's you being lazy. And it's not their fault, it's yours.

      • I think people have different definitions of "innovate." I think this was covered on slashdot within the last few weeks... anyway, I think glass might meet my definition of innovative. For a tech company anyway. Different yardstick for those entities which must make a profit off of what new things they make.
        • Re:No (Score:5, Interesting)

          by greenfruitsalad ( 2008354 ) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @06:58PM (#43229167)

          i read about 'glass' about 13 years ago in a short story in a scifi magazine. but it was way more advanced. it also created persistent overlays of the real world and communicated with other 'glasses'. e.g. if i told my 'glass' to put a watch on my wrist, others with 'glass' could see it on my wrist too. same for a virtual picture on a bedroom wall, etc.
          the story unfortunately isn't in english []

          • On several scifi shows, we have colonized the moon and several planets. I guess if we ever do that, you won't be impressed since you read a more advance fictional way of doing that 30 years before.

          • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

            by __aaltlg1547 ( 2541114 ) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @10:20PM (#43230759)

            There's a difference between writing scifi and making technology that works. The former is imagination. The latter is innovation.

            If you want an example of Google being innovative, though, look at their self-driving cars. A lot of people have tried to crack that problem. Google actually did it.

        • by geekoid ( 135745 )

          People need to stop being stupid and letting the egos run amok not letting them say 'oh, I was wrong. That wasn't the correct word.'

          Innovation is simply changing existing technology or adding value to existing technology.

          Google Glass is an invention. Yes, it's also innovative. An invention is always innovative, but innovation doesn't always mean invention.

      • by geekoid ( 135745 )

        You need a dictionary.
        "Innovation is the development of new values through solutions that meet new requirements, inarticulate needs, or old customer and market needs in value adding new ways.
        This is accomplished through more effective products, processes, services, technologies, or ideas that are readily available to markets, governments, and society.
        Innovation differs from invention in that innovation refers to the use of a better and, as a result, novel idea or method, whereas invention refers m

      • You mean when they made a search engine?

        Yes, when they made a search engine that worked so much better than the primitive search that everyone else was offering back then.

        By your argument, a car was not an innovation, since it's functionally just like a horse cart (except without a horse, and it goes faster, but that's not "particularly innovative").

  • screw google! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @05:22PM (#43227901)

    I will try very hard to never use new Google products. As they are a company that cannot be relied on to to support a product despite the number of people who become dependent on it. I have been already burnt by Google Notebook, and now Google Reader. They just decided to yank the product. Now they greedily crawl back in with Google Keep. You should not be keeping anything with Google if you really want to keep it for a long time. They are an untrustworthy company.

    • Re:screw google! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @05:27PM (#43227973)

      Make sure you ask for a refund.

      • Re:screw google! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @05:36PM (#43228065)

        If a refund means Google has to delete everything they know about me and can no longer resell my data to anyone, then sign me up, now.

        • You got it. (Score:5, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 21, 2013 @12:29AM (#43231343)

          If you really want Google to delete everything they know about you, go to and click the link that says "Close account and delete all services and information associated with it."

          Google already cannot resell your data to anyone. You made that part up.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TC Wilcox ( 954812 )

        Make sure you ask for a refund.

        Asking for a refund would be totally relevant if he was their customer. He isn't... He is the product and when your users are your product getting your users mad really can have consequences.

      • by Proteus ( 1926 )
        Maybe some compensation for all that personal data and advertising revenue they got from his use of Gmail? It's not like Gmail is provided at no value to Google (same with Reader, actually).
      • by Geeky ( 90998 )

        I have a Google apps account, and use that for Reader. OK, I'm using the free version of apps, but it is a service you can pay for (and now have to pay for) and Reader was one of the features of that service. It soon won't be. Now, I'm sure the terms and conditions are nice and tight, and are probably limited to core applications like email and docs, but nevertheless, Google are removing a feature that some of their customers are paying for.

      • What does it matter if it is a paid service?

        Google has a history of dropping support for products suddenly, so why would anyone want to start using a product with a proven alternative, when its likely that in a year our two it will be suddenly dropped?

      • Misguided fanboism (Score:5, Insightful)

        by tanveer1979 ( 530624 ) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @03:09AM (#43231937) Homepage Journal

        Whenever google is criticized for yanking a "free" service, such comments come up. but is anything from google free? Sure its may not ask for money, but in google your eyeball is the product, and they make money from ads.
        Lets take gmail.
        Now its free. If google yanks it, many people will troll "it was free" "ask for a refund".
        But when I open gmail, I see ads. So in a way google is making money.
        No company is in it for charity.;
        And no company is above criticism. There is nothing wrong to feel bad or criticize the company if it cans a product you were dependent upon. "Ask for a refund" what kind of response is that. And just because its pro google, it gets modded to "insightful"!

    • Re:screw google! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @05:55PM (#43228313) Journal

      If you read the blurb, this is not really a "new" product, but rather an extension of Google Drive. If you use Google Drive, you already have the product. []

    • I was a huge google fan, got several google certifications.

      But the parent post is correct. Google drops popular apps all the time. It's hard to commit a lot of time and effort to a google app, just to have google pull the rug out from under you.

      Also, google makes practically all of it's income from advertising. Anything else, google seems to make a half-hearted effort. Ever use Google apps? They are barely usable, and google does not seem interested in fixing long standing bugs.

    • They also are dropping iGoogle, which is one of their most useful things. But after also getting burned with Notebook and to a lesser extent with Wave, I'm staying with Evernote ... which also works on my old Android 2.2 phone.
  • by pushing-robot ( 1037830 ) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @05:23PM (#43227905)

    Fans of Google Reader will probably be a bit hesitant to pick this up.

    At least the headlines will be good.

    • There better be an export option.

      Evernote is just straight HTML. Your exports will look exactly like your notes in the program - which is extremely good in case we get word that they plan to shut down soon.

      • by Geeky ( 90998 )

        It would be nice if Evernote's local database was in an open format - if it is, it's not obvious (there is an API, but I haven't investigated to see if there's a way to use it should the cloud side of the service go AWOL tomorrow). It's easy enough to export all of the notes into HTML, though, and doing that from time to time as a backup is probably a good idea.

        • Re:Google Keep (Score:4, Informative)

          by Nixoloco ( 675549 ) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @08:44PM (#43230243)

          It would be nice if Evernote's local database was in an open format - if it is, it's not obvious (there is an API, but I haven't investigated to see if there's a way to use it should the cloud side of the service go AWOL tomorrow). It's easy enough to export all of the notes into HTML, though, and doing that from time to time as a backup is probably a good idea.

          The Evernote client already has a feature to export all the data from the locally stored notebooks/databases to HTML or to an Evernote XML file (which isn't that hard to parse). This is independent of the cloud export features. It includes notes and attachments. If that isn't enough, it looks like the local database is really just some SQLite DB's, so it wouldn't be that hard to write something to pull the data out directly.

  • by thetoadwarrior ( 1268702 ) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @05:24PM (#43227917) Homepage
    I'm pretty sure that's when this will get the axe.
    • by stephanruby ( 542433 ) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @10:34PM (#43230849)

      Can't wait until next spring. I'm pretty sure that's when this will get the axe.

      You're wrong. It already got the ax last summer (July 2012) when that service was called Google Notebook (or Google Notes). Google Notebook could already be shared between all your devices, and it wasn't just limited to the latest release of Android either.

      Why did you make this transition?

      We loved working on Notebook, but sometimes we have to make the hard decision to focus more of our efforts on products and technologies that will yield the most benefit to users in the long run. With all the great innovations and improvements to Google Docs in the last few years, we think it’s a great replacement for Notebook. []

      Personally, I just like PushBullet []. It doesn't have all the functionality Google Notebook used to have, nor will it ever have half the functionality Keep will have (since it's really designed to push things to your devices, not really push things both ways). But I really like it. It's simple. It's elegant. And it just does the things I need it to do.

      And no, I don't know those PushBullet guys. I have no affiliation with them.

  • Hard to trust (Score:4, Insightful)

    by boshvark ( 2599623 ) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @05:27PM (#43227969) Homepage
    I'm pretty sure Evernote will not suddenly "retire" its service and leave users out to dry. Sorry, Google Keep. Even if you're everything I ever dreamed of, you've arrived at the wrong place and the wrong time.
    • Re:Hard to trust (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JanneM ( 7445 ) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @06:06PM (#43228441) Homepage

      I don't trust Evernote either. It is their main line of business so it's unlikely to be "spring cleaned". But they can certainly go bankupt or bought by a rival and lose the cervice altogether. Or they can move in a direction that makes future versions bad or unusable for me. When it's the cloud you can never stay with a previous version.

      Anything critical, you use an offline app. Use the net only for syncing, preferably through file sharing or other system-agnostic manner.

      • Yeah, and I trust Google's infrastructure more than Evernote's. It's hard to trust anyone's cloud staying around forever. Even Apple retired a lot of its old Mobile Me services. Who knows what parts of iCloud will be around in 5 years. Bottom line, cloud is great, but you have to keep your eye on it.

      • The Windows and OS X Evernote clients are, in fact, offline apps that use the net only for syncing. If the Evernote service where to goof up and corrupt all my data, I could restore it from my Time Machine backup. If Evernote were to go chapter 7 tomorrow and vanish, I'd still have all my data, which can be easily exported right from the client without an Internet connection.
    • Well, there probably is *some* extra security in that Evernote has less flexibility to migrate their engineers to other projects. However, that also means bad things if their app stops making money the most sensible thing may be to basically sellout their users (and potentially their data) to some other firm. They might be gobbled up by a larger company for other reasons and be taken in an unpleasant direction (see Sun->Oracle), or simply forced to declare bankruptcy, both of which are far less likely

  • Fool me once... (Score:5, Informative)

    by rgbscan ( 321794 ) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @05:28PM (#43227975) Homepage

    I've been burned by too many "non-core" Google applications to even be bothered to try this. I mean, look up the old Google Notebook. Basically the same thing. If it ain't search, advertising, or social.... it's only a matter of time till you get scroogled. (Funny I thought that was the dumbest MS campaign ever....but it's starting to grow on me).

    • I wonder if they realize that people who are now Readerless are going to avoid relying Google products/services in future. Certainly there is no way I would build life habits around any Google service now. You don't want to get too used to using anything of theirs, don't get too comfortable. Then they will wonder why their new products aren't taking off any more.

      • by fwarren ( 579763 )

        Yes they know they will loose a lot of us Google Reader users trust But not many people used Google Reader. The total number of Google Reader users who will drop all Google based products plus everyone the can influence to do that same thing, is not a very large number. If it costs them 100,000 users I would be surprised.

        • by joh ( 27088 ) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @07:16PM (#43229383)

          Yeah, but let me tell you that users who used Google Reader are those who read and write a lot. Each of them is easily worth 10 plain users. I was burned by that and right now I'm busy moving quite a few users and one business away from Google. Google kicking out ActiveSync and in six months CalDAV isn't exactly helping them here. Google is starting to feel somewhat uncomfortable all of a sudden. There has been a widely felt uncomfortable feeling about Google's potential to abuse their power for quite a while but all of this is the first time Google makes this potential into something you have to deal with. And this is not a good feeling.

          Google is changing right now. Even those working there notice that. Google is dropping right now all the attributes that made nerds comfortable with it. It is turning into something else.

      • I used to use iGoogle, then they took it from me.
        I used to use Google Notebook, then they took it from me.
        I used to use Google Reader, then they took it from me.

        If it wasn't for that, I'd probably be excited to hear about their new product, but I'm not. Not anymore. I will not use Google Keep especially because I do not want to get used to it so they can take it away from me. I'm done.

        So you can count me in that group Aguazul2.

  • Google Notebook (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CremIon ( 119396 ) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @05:31PM (#43228023)

    Anyone remember Google Notebook...?

    • And Google Tasks? Which is a pretty recent product. I don't understand why they didn't just expand Tasks a little bit. Keep is kinda an awkward name.
      • by Geeky ( 90998 )

        I used tasks for a bit. It's still there, tucked away in email, but really needs work - it's very, very basic. I use Evernote for notes, but it doesn't do task management (mainly alerts). I'm looking at alternatives. Remember the Milk keeps coming up, but the interface is a bit dated and you have to pay for fairly basic functionality - the free version is fairly crippled. I don't mind paying, but only once I've tested. At the moment I'm giving Wunderlist an extended trial.

  • by CremIon ( 119396 ) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @05:33PM (#43228039)

    ...until it's Gone...?

    • by dclozier ( 1002772 ) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @05:45PM (#43228171)
      At which point it will be renamed Google Kept.
    • by jockm ( 233372 )

      Yes because commercial products never fail, go out of business, or have the business pivot. Charging is no assurance of success.

      While it is sad to see Google Reader go, it is important to remember that it had a five year lifespan, which is an eternity for a webapp. Nor is your data locked in.

      I use Evernote because my clients use Evernote, but Keep looks rather nice.

      • by geekoid ( 135745 )

        Except Reader was well used, entrenched in many industries, and support business needs.

        Google needs to realize that ahving something that is important to the internet ecosystem is, in and of itself, valuable.

  • I plan on using it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by linuxguy ( 98493 ) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @05:44PM (#43228155) Homepage

    Many people here are pooh-poohing the new service for various reasons. I just wanted to provide a counter point.

    I tried evernote. I did not like it. I generally like the services Google provides and in the manner they do. I understand that nothing is guaranteed. And that one day this service may too disappear and I am OK with that. This is a price I am willing to pay.

  • by Proteus ( 1926 ) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @05:48PM (#43228215) Homepage Journal
    I mean, a slightly different interface, but substantially the same. And Google killed that product; why do we think this time around will be better?
    • Um... try using it and see for yourself?
      • Um... try using it and see for yourself?

        It's not something you can "try", it's something that has to work for about five years going and give people assurance it will not be dropped. The aspectss you can "try" (like taking notes) are really not the point of concern.

        • In that case, at least there is the assurance that Google has always given you plenty of heads-up and a good amount of time to migrate your data.
          • In that case, at least there is the assurance that Google has always given you plenty of heads-up and a good amount of time to migrate your data.

            Or you could use Evernote today, and not ever have to migrate anything, with a wide variety of apps that consume or produce notes via an API.

    • by jockm ( 233372 )

      I would say this is a successor to Notebook. A much richer and better successor.

  • by Erbo ( 384 ) <> on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @06:01PM (#43228377) Homepage Journal
    The fact that Keep is tied to Google Drive is probably a good sign for its longevity. Google probably wrote it using the same APIs via which third-party applications use Drive to store data, and Drive appears sufficiently "core" to Google and a variety of other Google initiatives (Chrome OS and Android among them) that it'll stick.

    Disclaimer: Part of my impression comes from having attended the Google Boulder Open House last night, where they gave presentations on the projects they run from the Boulder office, of which Drive is one.

    • so its a task list...

      can I sync it with my task's for calendar via standards such as CalDAV ?

      otherwise forget about it


    • Drive appears sufficiently "core" to Google

      Not core enough to deploy on a linux platform in a timely manner. Put the source up on github and let the community troubleshoot the porting issues. It'd be nice if Google (or someone) established a repeatable BPM (Business ProcessManagement) for writing and deploying to multiple distributions.

  • This is a rival? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dave Emami ( 237460 ) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @06:01PM (#43228385) Homepage
    I've used both Evernote and Springpad, and stuck with the latter, but after fiddling around with the web interface on Google Keep for a while, my question is: this is supposed to be a rival service? It looks more like something from the example page of a web app library. All you seem to able to do is enter text notes, and lists. Perhaps Keep for Android has more functionality, but just comparing between the web versions of all three, Keep doesn't have 1/10th of the capability of either of the others. It's like comparing Word with Notepad.
  • All they need now is services called "Lose" and "Weep".
    • by Daetrin ( 576516 )

      All they need now is services called "Lose" and "Weep".

      Judging by the other comments i think they already have that covered. I believe they were codenames for Google Notebook and Google Reader.

  • by joh ( 27088 ) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @06:19PM (#43228579)

    I'm a bit torn right now between two ways to go on:

    a) I set up servers of my own for everything (I still have an SMTP and IMAP server for email, never trusted Gmail) like calendars, contacts, documents, notes, etc. Lots of work to set this up, a bit of money, fear of it being not secure enough if I don't put in more work and time.

    b) Just throw myself at Google and accept that every odd year a service I used and love will be gone and I have to find a new home for it after exporting and converting my data (as I have to do right now with Google Reader and the >100000 starred articles in it). Hardly any work at all, Google reads all my data.

    My anger says a), my lazy soul says b).

    But I surely don't love Google. By the way, nice article here: []

    Wait... has this thing any protocol or API to access this with other apps? Or is it again Google/Android/Browser or nothing?

  • Then Google will decide it's not worth keeping and tell everyone they will be killing it a year later, just like they do with all the products these days.
  • Wonder if there'll ever be native clients for anything besides Android. I'm not even going to begin to think of touching this until there are - I really love that Evernote isn't stuck in my browser.

    Also, yeah, not sure I trust Google to not abandon this like they did Reader or Wave. And not so hot on importing two and a half years of notes into Google, either.

  • being incredibly helpful, intuitive and easy. I also look forward to it being canceled about a year after I depend on it.

  • by tgd ( 2822 )

    Its OneNote Online.

    With 10% of the features.

    And they scan my notes.

    And they'll probably kill the service in two years.

    Yeah. Skip.

    • OneNote is already online, through SkyDrive: [] The native OneNote clients for various devices already talk to the SkyDrive cloud service and store your notebook(s) there by default, as far as I can tell.
  • by Trashcan Romeo ( 2675341 ) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @07:09PM (#43229287)
    If Google couldn't find a way to wring enough greenbacks out of Reader, what chance does this have?
  • Though my confidence in Google is declining after the Reader fiasco (which i don't use or care myself, i think RSS is overrrated, but i can empathize with people), i installed it and works great. Simple way to create notes and task lists, and you can dictate notes, which worked flawlessly with the spanish language.

    Being cloud based means i can get a new phone and all notes will be there.

    I am using colornote at the moment

    • I tried it, too, and it seems pretty decent. Simple, easy to use, nice widget that expands easily, ties to Google Drive for easy access elsewhere. :)
  • Ironic name "Keep" since Google rarely "keeps" apps around anymore. No more iGoogle, reader, and others. How long before Keep isn't kept anymore?

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton