Face off: Evernote vs Google Keep

After a leak early this week, Google Keep, Google’s note-taking app, finally makes an official entry. With this app, Google is believed to have invaded the note-taking space and is directly competing with the popular and reigning Evernote app. As soon as it was launched, the Keep app started making headlines as Google’s answer to Evernote. Google earlier had the Notebook app (which was scrapped in 2011) and it still allows making Notes, but this is the first app that completely focuses on creating notes, notebooks or checklists and managing them. To know if it really is an Evernote-killer, here’s a faceoff of these two note-taking apps.

Currently, the Google Keep is accessible only by Android devices running on Ice Cream Sandwich and above. But to take complete advantage of the app, one will require Android 4.2+ (Jelly Bean). On the other hand, Evernote is available for Android devices running Android 1.6 and above. So, in case you are an iOS user or using an Android device running older versions of the OS, this app is not for you. Now, as per reports, most devices are still running on Ice Cream Sandwich or lower versions of Android, means most Android users may not be able to even access it.  Considering it's a Google product, we expected it to be compatible with most Android devices. 

Evernote has been around for a while and works well with Android, BlackBerry, iOS and Windows Phone; it also has a web client for Windows and Mac. Obviously, we can't expect the same support for Google Keep, given that it has just been launched, but maybe this may change with time.

Google Keep has a simple and neat user interface. It is without any bells and whistles and shows its limited yet sufficient options in a one-page view. A small row of icons for notes, checklists, voice input and snapshots take minimal space. Once you create notes, they appear on the homepage and you can choose from Snippet or List form for displaying the notes. The Snippet form also gives you a choice between single-column and multi-column views. All the notes and checklists you create populate the space below these rows of icons. In addition, you can add colour to your notes, making them look like colourful sticky notes.


Google Keep has a neat, lively interface


The Evernote interface is a little cluttered compared to the Keep, obviously because it has more features. Evernote also shows icons for creating, sorting and searching notes along with an option to select between snippet and list form at the lower end of the screen, while your notes will occupy the remaining screen. Tap on the Evernote logo and the app takes you to a new slide-out page showing a much refined interface with huge icons to create notes, take snapshot, record audio and attach files. The lower part of this page shows some more options, which let you view notes/notebooks that you’ve created, tag or sort similar kind of notes. It also has a location feature. Some of these options look repetitive, unnecessarily cluttering the interface.

Google Keep has easy to access options for creating as well as editing notes and checklists, adding notes via voice input, adding images, creating lists for groceries and so on. Just like Evernote, you can choose to view them in snippet or list format. And we loved the colour aspect that Keep adds to its notes. It makes the interface look lively and you can sort similar or a particular type of notes/checklists by assigning the same colour to them. It makes more sense considering Keep doesn't have any dedicated categorising or tagging ability. Those who thoroughly use note-taking apps know the importance of categorising them. It also lets you share the notes/checklists that you have created with others using other apps and services such as Gmail, Google Drive, Evernote, Flipboard and so on.  So, the app is pretty basic and you won't find any out-of-the box feature.


Evernote is feature-loaded, Google Keep lacks several handy features


Evernote has the upper hand when it comes to features. It lets you create notes or checklists with some additional formatting options such as Italics, numbered or bullet forms of checklist, aligning text and underlining text. You can create notebooks (which goes amiss in Keep), make audio notes and also tag similar notes together. Using the Places feature, the app will automatically associate your location with your notes, provided you have enabled location services. Moreover, the app allows adding attachments to your notes too. You can easily edit all your notes anytime, and also share them via social networks, Google Keep and other apps.

Evernote ensures ease of use because of its compatibility with varied platforms – mobile, PC and Mac. You can manage hundreds of notes and lists easily using these platforms. On the other hand, Google Keep still offers limited access and those who want to manage their notes from desktop can do so using Google Drive. Google Keep is synced with your Google Drive, and you will find a backup of all the data here. As expected, Google has ensured that we use its Google Drive.


Evernote supports various platforms, Google Keep syncs with Google Drive


Evernote has an upload limit of 60MB/month, limiting the data you want to create or upload per month. There is a monthly upload meter to keep a tab on your monthly uploads. For more storage, you will have to opt for the premium service, which is $5/month for 1GB upload. Overall, it is said to support one lakh notes and 250 notebooks. On the other hand, Google Keep syncs with Drive so we don't think there is any monthly limit as long as you have space in your Drive.

The bottom line
Ease of use and several handy features make Evernote emerge as a clear winner. Evernote is compatible with a wide range of platforms. Unlike Keep, which is available for Android devices running Android 4.0 and above, Evernote can be used by any Android user with v1.6 and above. Keep lacks features such as creating notebooks, tagging and categorising notes/checklists. On the other hand, Google Keep has a neater user interface and is sufficient for basic everyday notes which you can eventually dispose off. Also, considering the app has just been launched, we can expect Google to roll out some useful and competent feature in the future.

Published Date: Mar 21, 2013 05:35 pm | Updated Date: Mar 21, 2013 05:35 pm