Has all the essential features
You can write quick notes, make lists, set reminders, take photos and record audio. Google Keep syncs your notes to your Google account, which you can access with almost any device that can connect to the web. The interface, which draws inspiration from sticky notes, can be customized with colors and labels.
Geared for smartphone users
Features such as speech-to-text transcription and location-based reminders take advantage of common smartphone features to add functionality to the app. Google Keep can also transcribe text in images to editable text. It also integrates seamlessly with Google apps such as Calendar and Now by automatically adding relevant reminders.
No native, offline desktop app
There is no standalone program for desktops; you need to install a browser extension for Google Chrome to have offline functionality. This also makes the app very unsuitable for substantial note-taking (hundreds of words or more) since its mobile-oriented interface is not conducive for such content.
Other things to note
The app lacks comprehensive organization options and text formatting. Free storage is tied to your Google Drive’s 15 GB storage capacity.
Best for distraction-free note taking
Light, but not empty
Underneath its barebones interface are some pretty useful features: Markdown support, cloud syncing, collaborative editing and the ability to organize notes with groups and tags. It also features a backup feature so you can go back to any previous version of your notes.
Widest cross-platform compatibility
Simplenote is natively compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android and Kindle. It’s also available as a web app, so you don’t have to install it each time.
Simplenote lacks key features such as time-based reminders, advanced search or speech-to-text. Some users may find the lack of multimedia support limiting, and may find themselves looking for a second app when they actually do need it.
Other things to note
Markdown support is not available for the Mac version. Simplenote offers unlimited storage for free users (but again, you’re only uploading plain text.)
A feature-packed, multi purpose app
Evernote doesn’t skimp on features. With it, you can create notes with text, photos, audio, web clippings or other file attachments, change fonts and layouts, convert to PDF, annotate files, turn notes into presentations, encrypt files and upload to web and much more.
Has expandable functionality
Browser extensions like the web clipper makes using web content for notes easier. Evernote has a library of third-party apps which can integrate seamlessly with it or extend its functionality beyond the base app.
Bloated, buggy, too complex
Having too many features makes the app more susceptible to bugs and cumbersome for older devices. All the extra bloat will also feel like overkill if all you want is an app just for jotting down notes.
Other things to note
Evernote’s OCR can read printed and handwritten text which can then be picked up through the search function. Free users will be pestered with pop-ups until they shell out for the paid versions.
What others are saying
How they compare
- Evernote offers a comprehensive package that covers everything from note-taking, organizing, processing and even final exporting and presenting. However, only paying users can take full advantage of all features.
- Too many features also make the learning curve steeper, limiting usefulness for new and casual users. Also, not all of its features are available for free users.
- You can write quick notes, make lists, set reminders, take photos and record audio. The interface, which draws inspiration from sticky notes, can be customized with colors and labels.
- In addition to standard note-taking, Keep takes advantage of smartphone features like GPS, alarms and speech recognition to enhance convenience. For example, you can set it to remind you of your shopping list when it detects you are near a grocery instead of using a time-based reminder.
- Due to its focus on casual use for mobile platforms, it is not well suited for substantial note taking, such as when taking down lecture notes, drafting articles or planning trips.
- While obviously lacking multimedia features, Simplenote makes up for it by focusing on features that matter to plain text notes such as Markdown support, cloud syncing, collaborative editing and the ability to organize notes with groups and tags
- Not only does it lack multimedia support, it even lacks basic reminder functions. Without alarms or notifications, your only option for reminders is to make a note of all the things you need to not forget, and actualy remember to open Simplenote to look at it.
- Simplenote has a native app for the most number of platforms, on top of an easily accessible web app. With a diverse option for supported splatforms, you can be assured that you can still use Simplenotes even if you suddenly switch platforms.
- Evernote is available for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Windows Mobile, Blackberry and as a web app.
- There is no native Linux support, although third party alternatives and clones are available.
- Though available for Android and iOS, desktops would have to rely on the web app for online use or the Chrome browser extension for offline.
Sync, storage and security
- Google Drive’s ample 15 GB free storage is shared by all Google apps in one account, including Keep. Google Drive’s data are stored in secure data servers and have never suffered a direct data breach.
- Google Keep itself doesn’t provide any method for user encryption, however.
- Simplenote syncs notes across all devices and provides unlimited storage for plain text notes.
- The developers advise against storing sensitive data with Simplenote, since they store notes unencrypted to allow for searching.
- Desktop versions allow you to encrypt only certain texts in a document, but not entire docs. In 2013, a high-profile breach of Evernote’s servers forced millions of users to change passwords and cast doubt on their security.
- The free version is abysmal: you only have an upload allowance of 60 MB per month, a 2 MB file size limit and can only sync to two devices. The premium version offers more but can get quite expensive considering the alternatives.
Is there a chance that Google Keep will be discontinued much like Google Notebook, Reader and other services?
While even The Guardian was at first skeptical of Google Keep's longevity--having declared that Keep would only last until March 2017 (based on average Google service lifespan)---the developers have been putting out updates to the app quite frequently. Plus, with at least 100,000,000 installs on the Android version alone, it's doubtful they will suddenly pull the plug on a very popular service,
What features are not included in Evernote's basic plan?
According to Evernote's website, the features you miss out on include offline notebook access, email forwarding, PDF and documents text search, PDF annotation, one-click presentations and notes history. Free users can also only upload a maximum of 60 MB of notes per month with a max file size of 25 MB.
Does Simplenote encrypt notes in storage?