It is the age of cloud computing, and everyone is trying to make the most of it. “Files anywhere” is a new concept. Most organizations are switching to the concept so that employees do not need to connect to the office network to access or edit documents.
Amid low fanfare, I found an application of special interest. It’s called Google Keep, a syncing notepad that connects to Google Drive. The ingenious app lets you create voice memos, quickly jot down notes, save photos and create checklists to access them again anytime you get connected to a different web-connected device in use.
Most mobile devices such as mobile phones and tablets in use today are equipped with good QWERTY screens having better swipe capabilities. All this makes the task of taking notes on palm-sized devices dead simple. Apps like Google Keep have simplified the task furthermore.
The idea of Google Keep is similar: Create Notes on-the-go, and store them on the cloud for later access, from anywhere, anytime. And it does look like a formidable alternative for Microsoft OneNote – simply because it supports voice input. You can use it easily via an Android app, plus you can sync it so that your notes are the same all over the world.
Google keep is available in 4 different versions:
Chose the one that suits your requirements.
UPDATE: In case you did not know, Googe Keep has been rebranded as Keep Notes.
What is Google Keep Notes
I would call it an extension for Google Drive, for it is there where all your notes are stored. To be more precise, Google Keep is an app for Android that allows you to take quick notes and store them to Google Drive. That helps you when you are in a meeting, or an idea strikes you when you are traveling or taking lessons in school/college. You can simply type whatever you wish to store (there is no limit as to how many characters each note can store). That also means that you may go ahead and create a huge file containing all sub-topics related to some topic.
Recently, a person advertised that he was willing to offer USD 1000 for his stolen laptop. That was because all his thesis work was stored on that laptop – a year’s worth of work. If he had used smaller things as SkyDrive sync or Google Drive sync, he would have easily recovered the work and passed his term. There are methods to recover lost smartphones and laptops, but we’ll talk about them in a different post.
Until a few days back, I too was using a local copy of some app called MEmo for Android. In my case, most of my ideas strike me when I am outside or when trying to fall asleep. I can’t get back to turn on the computer and note it down. The best way until a few days back was to open that MEmo app and note down the important points that I could expand later.
And now, when using Google Keep, I do not have to transfer the memos to the computer using Bluetooth or cable as I can simply log in to Google Drive and access the notes I created off the computer. I guess this explains what Google Keep is all about keeping the information you want in an easy-to-access place – from anywhere and anytime.
Advantages Of Google Keep Notes
The above explains the advantages of Google Keep very well. Since I did not mention some of the best features of Google Keep, I will create a list of its advantages here:
- Create notes from anywhere – using Keep on your Android phone
- Access the notes from anywhere, anytime – from your Android phone, another tablet, or maybe your PC
- With Google Keep, you can also create a voice note if your hands are not free (but do not use the phone while driving – text or voice – as it is distracting; you may not love your life but don’t put others at risk). The voice notes can be transcribed instantly using Google Voice.
- You can color-code your notes to mark their importance and to mark complete to-do lists.
- You can add checkboxes to Google Keep note so that you can use it as a checklist (A To-Do List in most cases). I love this feature as I can create my schedule away from the computer anytime – especially just before sleeping. I am sure most of you too get ideas when trying to sleep at night.
- You can also take snaps and add to the notes.
- Archive facility for older notes.
How to use Google Keep Notes
When you first launch the app, you will find the interface of the app is quite colorful and easy to use. These colors actually function as organization tools that help you distinguish your personal notes and other business-related ones. In particular, it helps to discern what’s more important for you and saves you from scrolling through dozens of notes.
So, if you do not wish to adhere to a simple color-coding system offered by the app, you can add your own color. To do so, simply enter a hashtag (#) sign in the title field of the app, and you’ll see a drop-down menu for picking a label.
Choose the desired color.
To create a note in Google Keep, Go to Google Keep and click ‘Take a note’.
Then, add a note and a title.
When finished, click Done. For editing the same note, click on edit, make changes to a note and then click Done
For creating a new image note in Google Keep
Google Keep has a feature that can transcribe text from images scan or convert handwritten text into digital text. To try this, click ‘New note with Image‘ icon and select the picture of whose text you would like to capture. Then, select the image, chose ‘More’ (3 dots) option, and select the ‘Grab text from the image’ option.
Google Keeps takes advantage of character recognition to achieve this task. Using the feature does require an active internet connection is required for this feature to work along with a photo, screenshot, or another image that contains the text.
Please note that the accuracy of the text transcribed may vary depending on the quality of the image is read from and the words in it. No need to add spaces as Google autocorrects texts and adds spaces between them themselves. Clear images with high contrast are likely to give the best results. Blurred ones can result in weird translations.
For granting others, access to your notes, click the Collaborator option and enter the email addresses of collaborators. That’s it! Here on, if the person who has been given access to your notes wants to edit it, he will be allowed to make the changes and can edit the same as if it was his own.
This feature can be useful in instances where you have made a list of ingredients to be used for preparing a food recipe or others such as groceries, where your mother can make last-minute additions. The changes made, if any will readily sync in real-time, so you never miss anything.
Similar to the Cortana application in Windows 10, Google Keeps has location-based reminders feature that you can use in conjunction with events like a weekly/monthly appointment with a physician, monthly tasks/targets and annual tax payments, etc.
For adding a reminder to a note, change the reminder type from Time to Place. Then type in an address, and when prompted with a map, confirm your location. Now when you visit that place, next time, Google Keep will remind you of this note.
Likewise, you can also choose to schedule tasks on a future date and receive notification for the same when due. For this, click the ‘finger with a bow’ icon note as shown in the screenshot above to access the date and time picker and click ‘Done’ when done. Reminders of due notes will be delivered as alert toasts in the Chrome Notification Center on Windows.
Apart from the above, you can make changes in the appearance of the interface. For instance, if you would like to change the default appearance of the list, click on the list icon residing in the upper right-hand corner of the app and select the view. There are two views available – Horizontal and vertical. Chose the one that suits your requirement.
One of the biggest obstacles to keeping digital notes and to-do lists is finding an app you like. Google Keep has been around for a year and is completely free for use. Moreover, it is lightweight and easy-to-use. You can get started at