Google Keep vs Evernote vs OneNote vs Notes vs Simplenote

Now that Google Keep is live, it wouldn’t be right if we don’t compare it with other popular note taking services out there. In our detailed review of Keep, we’ve mentioned that its features are rather basic at the moment, especially if you compare it with note taking giant Evernote. However, Evernote isn’t the only impressive notes service out there, and it’s only fair to broaden our comparison. After considering just what features does it takes to make a good note taking service, we ended up with quite a list. Not all services here share the exact same feature set, but each of them has its own pros and cons and as a user, this comparison should give you a quick idea of which one of them is right for you, and whether switching to Google Keep will work for you, or should you stick with the one you’re currently using.

Google Keep vs Evernote vs Notes vs OneNote vs Simplenote Google Keep vs Evernote vs OneNote vs Notes vs SimplenoteView in gallery

The Challenger

Google Keep

Keep is new but it’s got Google’s name behind it, and that in itself makes it nothing short of a formidable challenger. The biggest plus point of Keep is how it’ll easily integrate into the Google ecosystem by being built right into your Google Drive. At the very least, syncing will be a strong feature for keeping your notes available across PCs as well as Android phones and tablets. In the future, Google will likely release an iOS app as well but based on Google’s track record on the platform, Windows Phone users would probably stay out of luck.

The Contenders


Evernote is one of the oldest names in this genre of apps. It has a large, loyal user base, and lets you share notes easily with others as well, making it a passable collaboration tool. Evernote’s strength lies in its app’s availability across most of the major desktop and mobile platforms. The service isn’t just rich in features, but also supports taking in many different formats including text, audio, images and so on. Furthermore, its remarkably efficient OCR feature makes it a snap to detect text from any images you upload to it, instantly indexing them to making them searchable.

Apple Notes

Notes by Apple is the note taking app you will find on your iOS devices and Mac. Syncing your notes between these devices is done over iCloud. Notes has been around for a while now, but it wouldn’t have been able to contend with Keep had it not been for Mountain Lion and its ability to sync notes from your iOS device to your desktop. Though if you also use devices outside Apple’s walled garden, you’ll be out of luck as the service doesn’t offer apps for any other operating system.

Microsoft OneNote

OneNote is Microsoft’s note taking solution that comes bundled with MS Office and on Windows Phone devices, though it is also possible to buy its standalone license. It has SkyDrive working to keep your notes synced across your devices, and the web interface features a considerably powerful editor for creating notes. Windows users will find it particularly easy to use since they are likely to have used Microsoft’s word processor MS Word.


As the name implies, it’s a very simple note taking service with a strong user base. Unlike the other services we’ve seen above, Simplenote keeps everything simple by offering only plain text notes, which means no audio or photo notes. The service itself only offers a web and iOS app of its own, but there are countless third-party clients for the service that bring all your Simplenote notes to Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Android, iOS and possibly other platforms as well, and keeps them all synced. Many of these apps also offer a way to make To-Do lists in your notes, complete with the ability to check off done items. For many users who only need to take plain text notes, Simplenote offers the advantage of being very lightweight and easy on system resources.

The Verdict

In all fairness, Keep is only two days old and we have a lot of expectations from it. Even in its infancy, it can compete reasonably well with Notes, and carries a distinct advantage over Simplenote by offering more rich note options. Though it doesn’t quite cut it against Evernote and OneNote because there’s no way of organizing your notes together in form of notebooks, among some other powerful features that these two services offer. Given a few months and the right amount of development from Google, Keep might transform in to a powerful competitor for Evernote and OneNote but for now, Evernote remains the leader of this genre.

If you liked this post, you might also want to check out our tabular comparison of major cloud services.

  • Drudge

    OneNote does have native web clipping capability in IE, and extensions for at least Firefox and Chrome.

  • EmirSc

    i like keep but im worried that they shut it down after a few years/months.

  • Guest

    I am going to stay with Evernote, and maybe use OneNote is required.

  • I am going to stay with Evernote and use OneNote if required.

  • Evernote FTW!!!!

  • Evernote does not have “Unlimited” storage space for free accounts. There are only 60 MB. It’s a shame for such a wonderful service.

    • xxx

      or just pay 4$ / month to get 1 gig…

      • Right, but there’s other alternatives…

    • Brook Valentine

      er, yes it does have Unlimited storage. The 60mb limit is your uploading traffic to their servers. The actual amount of stuff you can store with them is unlimited. You just have to budget your uploading each month if you’re going to add a lot of stuff quickly. I had the same problem when joining Evernote, but once the bulk was “up there” my monthly use dropped off quite a lot. Enjoy.

      • Marian C.

        Well, thanks, I’ll check this.

  • johnsmith500

    I don’t think linking to each of what you are comparing is too hard.

  • Maya

    Just switched over to Notebooks and I couldn’t be happier.

  • You forget Springpad. It’s one of the best.

  • Adrian

    How doesn’t Google Keep have voice memos? It attaches the audio of your transcribed recordings to the note.

  • What about Springpad? Very poor article

  • Arcest

    Keep DOES save voice memos, BESIDES from its transcription to words, you can hear again your own voice at any time.

  • tak_tirandaz

    i can’t trust any more in google apps

  • Jasper

    I agree with whoever brought up Springpad (even though I don’t necessarily like it), and I want to add Catch Notes as well. Their color-coded organisation of notes is one of the best in my opinion.

  • 山 青

    maybe they will shut Google Search down after a few years ,XDD.

    I love google buzz

  • Bassmaster

    How about Springpad and Catch? Really strong contenders IMO. I’ve been using Catch recently along with Catch Sketch on Android and honestly, I’m impressed. I’m surprised it isn’t more popular.

  • To me, any note taking app that you can interface with many other cloud apps is worth more when comparing and considering. Evernote easily has the edge. Check Zapier out and see why many choose Evernote