Google's Keep note-taking app for Android has just been upgraded with some useful new features, including a "navigation drawer" that makes it easier to keep notes organized and a streamlined process for adding photos to a Keep note.
The new features were unveiled in an Aug. 21 post by Erin Rosenthal, the Keep product manager, on The Official Android Blog.
"It's now even easier to get to all of your notes using the new navigation drawer, which includes a way to view all of your upcoming reminders in one place," wrote Rosenthal. "And for people who want more separation between their home and work lives, the drawer also lets you easily switch between your accounts."
The new photo-adding process for Keep notes on Android allows users to tap the camera icon, which gives users the choice of taking a new photo or adding an existing photo, wrote Rosenthal. The updates are rolling out for Android users through Google Play, or they can be downloaded from Google Drive or the Chrome Web Store.
The new features help make Keep even more useful, wrote Rosenthal. "Google Keep can remind you of important tasks and errands at just the right time and place. For example, Keep works with Google Now to remind you of your grocery list when you walk into your favorite grocery store, and nudges you on Thursday night to take out the trash."
Users can create reminders by selecting the "Remind me" button at the bottom of any note and then selecting the type of reminder they want to add, she wrote. "You can add time-based reminders for a specific date and time, or a more general time of day, like tomorrow morning. Adding a location reminder is incredibly easy too—as soon as you start typing Google Keep suggests places nearby."
Google Keep has had an interesting start in its short life. It was first introduced, apparently prematurely, on March 17, 2013, but it was quickly pulled back after its presence was reported online by a developer who accidentally discovered its capabilities while he was exploring the Google Drive service. The developer posted some scant information about the fledgling app on his Google+ page, 1E100, but it didn't stick around for long after he published his comments.
Then, just as suddenly, Keep returned. Just three days later, on March 20, Keep was officially launched by Google and made available to Android users. The appearance of Google Keep gave Google its own note-taking app to take on competitors such as Evernote and Microsoft OneNote. Google had tried to introduce such a product previously, but had abandoned earlier efforts.
Google Drive, which integrates with Google Keep, was launched April 24, 2012, after about six years of planning and talks by the search giant about its intentions to introduce a cloud-storage service. Google added a key new feature to Drive in October 2012, allowing users to directly share stored photos, documents, PDFs and presentations from Drive to their Google+ accounts. A month earlier, Google had updated its Drive services for Android and iOS users to make it easier for them to modify documents on the go, see changes by others and view presentations.
The Drive offering joined a busy cloud storage marketplace that was already packed with competitors such as Box and Dropbox. Google Drive offers users up to 5GB of storage for free and is integrated with Google's core services, such as Google Docs, where users can do their work and then seamlessly store it in their part of the cloud for safekeeping and easy access. Google Drive also includes support for a wide variety of file formats, even if the applications aren't installed on the user's device. That allows users to open the files for viewing as needed.