Google Releases Its Keep Note-Taking App, This Time for Real

Google had released Keep on March 17 but then quickly pulled it back, leaving users wondering what had happened.

Google has now officially unveiled its new Google Keep note-taking application for Android, three days after it was apparently released too early and then quickly retracted.

Keep's debut was announced in a March 20 post by Katherine Kuan, a Google software engineer, on the Google Official Blog.

"Every day we all see, hear or think of things we need to remember," Kuan wrote. "Usually we grab a pad of sticky-notes, scribble a reminder and put it on the desk, the fridge or the relevant page of a magazine. Unfortunately, if you're like me, you probably often discover that the desk, fridge or magazine wasn't such a clever place to leave the note after all ... it's rarely where you need it when you need it."

That's where Keep can help, Kuan wrote. "With Keep you can quickly jot ideas down when you think of them and even include checklists and photos to keep track of what's important to you. Your notes are safely stored in Google Drive and synced to all your devices so you can always have them at hand."

Keep can also be used without a keyboard because it is capable of transcribing voice memos for users. It also has search and note archiving capabilities, according to Kuan's post.

"Changing priorities isn't a problem: Just open Keep on your Android phone or tablet (there's a widget so you can have Keep front-and-center all the time) and drag your notes around to reflect what matters," she wrote. Users can also choose different colors for their notes so they can reflect their importance.
Google Keep is available for free download in the Google Play store for devices running Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich and above.

Users can also access, edit and create new notes on the Web through their Google Drive accounts when not using their mobile devices, according to Kuan.

Google Keep had appeared briefly on the Google Drive data-sharing service after its debut was first spotted March 17 by Carlos Jeurissen, an 18-year-old student and software developer in the Netherlands, who posted its appearance on his Google+ page, 1E100. Within a short time, however, Keep disappeared from the Website.

In his post, Jeurissen wrote that Google Keep was an unreleased product that he researched to gain more details. What began as a whim soon uncovered a URL for a new service called Google Keep, he wrote.

"It is removed now, including the service which means a possible release is nearby," he wrote in the post.

He couldn't have been more right, as Keep re-emerged March 20 in its official release.

The appearance of Google Keep makes it apparent that the company is creating its own note-taking app to take on competitors such as Evernote and Microsoft OneNote. Google has been down this road before, but had abandoned earlier efforts for such a project, which it would add to its stable of other online services for users, such as Google Docs, Gmail, Google Calendar and more.

Google Drive 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.

Last October, Google added a key new feature to Drive, allowing users to directly share stored photos, documents, PDFs and presentations from Drive to their Google+ accounts.

A month earlier, Google 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.

Drive proved to be popular among users just after its launch. Sign-ups for the service grew to a "very strong start, with probably about 35 million to 40 million sign-ups in 15 days," according to an earlier report.