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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.