When comparing Vim vs Google Keep, the Slant community recommends Google Keep for most people. In the question“What are the best note taking apps for Linux?” Google Keep is ranked 4th while Vim is ranked 10th. The most important reason people chose Google Keep is:
1-step to take a note on Android: tap 'take a note'. Web version: cursor is on the note itself.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Lightweight and fast
When compared to modern graphical editors like Atom and Brackets (which have underlying HTML5 engines, browsers, Node, etc.), Vim uses a sliver of the system's memory and it loads instantly, all the while delivering the same features. Vim is also faster than Emacs.
Pro Works in terminal over SSH
Unlike other editors such as Sublime Text, Vim is a command line editor and hence can be used in remote development environments like Chromebooks via SSH.
Pro Free and open-source software
Vim is open-source, GPL-compatible charityware.
Pro Extremely portable
Vi/vim exists on almost all Unix-like platforms. It's the de-facto Unix editor and is easily installed on Windows. All you need to make it work is a text-based connection, so it works well for remote machines with slow connections, or when you're too lazy to set up a VNC/Remote Desktop connection.
Pro Keyboard-based, mouse-free interface, and trackpad support
There's no need to reach for the mouse or the Ctrl/Alt buttons again. Everything is a mere key press or two away with almost 200 functions specifically for text editing. Vim does support the mouse, but it's designed so you don't have to use it for greater efficiency.
Versions of Vim, like gVim or MacVim, still allow you to use the mouse and familiar platform shortcuts. That can help ease the learning curve and you'll probably find you won't want to (or need to) use the mouse after a while.
Pro Great productivity
Vim's keyset is mainly restricted to the alphanumeric keys and the escape key. This is an enduring relic of its teletype heritage, but has the effect of making most of Vim's functionality accessible without frequent awkward finger reaches.
Pro Macros increase productivity
Many text editors have programmable macros, but since Vim is keyboard-based, your programmed macros are usually far more predictable and easier to understand.
Pro Usable from a Terminal or with a GUI (GVim, MacVim)
If you happen to be logged into SSH, you can use Vim in a terminal. It can also run with a GUI too.
Pro Everything is mnemonic
No need to memorize different key combinations for things like deleting the text inside of a block or deleting the text inside of a pair of quotes. It's just a series of actions, or nouns and verbs, or however you prefer to think about it. If you want to delete, you select "d"; if you want it to happen inside something, you select "i"; and if you want the surrounding double-quotes, just select ". But if you were changing the text, or copying it, or anything else, you'd still use the same "i" and ". This makes it very easy to remember a large number of different extremely useful commands, without the effort it takes to remember all of the Emacs "magic incantations", for example.
Pro Once learned, it's very hard to forget
Vim's somewhat steep learning curve is more than made up for once you've mastered a few basic concepts and learned the tricks that allow you to program faster with fewer cut/paste mistakes.
Pro Tons of plugins/add-ons
This makes Vim the definitive resource for every environment (Ruby/Rails, Python, C, etc.), or simply just provides more information in your view.
Pro Excellent performance
As it loads the whole file into RAM, replacing all string occurrences in 100 MB+ files is quick and easy. Every other editor has sort of died during that. It is extremely fast even for cold start. Vim is light-weight and very compact. In terminal, it only uses a small amount of memory and anytime you invoke Vim, it's extremely fast. It's immediate, so much so you can't even notice any time lag.
Pro Can never outgrow it
The fact that very few, if any, people claim to be a "Vim Master" is a testament to the breadth and depth of Vim. There is always something new to learn - a new, perhaps more efficient, way to use it. This prevents Vim from ever feeling stale. It's always fresh.
Pro Has multiple distinct editing modes
Interaction with Vim is centered around several "modes", where purpose and keybindings differ in each.
Insert mode is for entering text. This mode most resembles traditional text entry in most editors.
Normal mode (the default) is entered by hitting ESC and converts all keybindings to center around movement within the file, search, pane selection, etc.
Command mode is entered by hitting ":" in Normal mode and allows you to execute Vim commands and scripts similar in fashion to a shell.
Visual mode is for selecting lines, blocks, and characters of code.
Those are the major modes, and several more exist depending on what one defines as a "mode" in Vim.
Vimtutor is an excellent interactive tutorial for people with no prior experience of Vim. It takes about 30 minutes to complete.
Pro Has been supported for a long time and will be supported for many years to come
Pro Productivity enhancing modal paradigm
As with all vi-like editors, Vim provides a modal paradigm for text editing and processing that provides a rich syntax and semantic model for composing succinct, powerful commands. While this requires some initial investment in learning how it works in order to take full advantage of its capabilities, it rewards the user well in the long run. This modal interface paradigm also lends itself surprisingly well to many other types of applications that can be controlled by vi-like keybindings, such as browsers, image viewers, media players, network clients (for email and other communication media), and window managers. Even shells (including zsh, tcsh, mksh, and bash, among others) come with vi-like keybinding features that can greatly enhance user comfort and efficiency when the user is familiar with the vi modal editing paradigm.
Pro By default in Linux
Pro Asynchronous I/O support
Since Vim 8, Vim can exchange characters with background processes asynchronously. This avoids the problem of the text editor getting stuck when a plugin that had to communicate with a server was running. Now plugins can send and receive data from external scripts without forcing Vim to freeze.
Pro Built-in package management
Starting with Vim 8, a package manager has been built into Vim. The package manager helps keep track of installed plugins, their versions and also only loads the needed plugins on startup depending on the file type.
Pro Flexible feature-set
Vim allows users to include many features found in IDEs and competing editors, but does not force them all on the user. This not only helps keep it lighter in weight than a lot of other options, but it also helps ensure that some unused features will not get in the way.
Pro Donations and support to Vim.org helps children in Uganda through ICCF Holland
Pro If you can use Vim you can also use vi
Pro Works on Android
Pro Can set up keymapping
Pro Vim encourages discipline
If you use Vim long enough, it will rewire your brain to be more efficient.
Pro Multiple clipboards
It is called "registers".
Pro Easy to use
1-step to take a note on Android: tap 'take a note'.
Web version: cursor is on the note itself.
Pro Super fast to use
The focus on a minimal interface makes everything fast to use on both web and mobile. This comes in handy for when a note needs to be jotted down quickly, as there is little to no load times or faffing about trying to get to a space where the note can finally be recorded.
Pro Unlimited and seamless sync across all Google connected devices, from mobile to desktop
When a mobile device isn't in use, Google Keep can be accessed as a Chrome app or as a website. Basically, no matter the device being used or the OS on it, there is always a way to access the app. There is also no limitation to how many devices this can be done with, freeing up the user to always have access.
Pro Works as a great bookmarking tool as links added can optionally include a preview image
Keep has a great feature that allows you to save sites you visit as a special note type with a link and a preview image.
Pro Automatic saving
Automatically saves new changes so that nothing is lost.
Pro Useful Android home screen widget
The Keep widget lets users quickly see existing notes and add new ones.
Pro Can share and collaboratively edit any item including lists
Keep allows sharing any item with other contacts and editing them together at the same time. This way a team can work together in real time, no matter their location.
Pro Notes can be grouped via labels
In addition to the ability to color-code notes, they can be labeled and navigated and grouped that way. This allows for easy organization, to then be found easily at a later date.
Pro Notes can be color-coded
Pro Really well implemented speech-to-text
Google has a lot of experience with speech-to-text functionality and they did a fantastic job with Keep. This means you can easily record spoken notes that can then be changed to a text based note.
Pro Notes can include photo and audio attachments
Notes can include multimedia attachments in addition to text.
Pro Supports drawing or writing notes by hand
Newer version of Google Keep now supports drawing on either a blank page, existing notes or in an image attached to the note.
Pro Both location- and time-based reminders
You can set reminders that bring certain notes to your attention when you arrive at a specified location or when it’s a specified time or date. Unfortunately you can only do one or the other for each note.
Pro Drag and drop sorting
You can move cards manually, which is great for prioritizing to-dos. Within a card, you can also drag and drop items.
Pro Archives finished tasks
Any finished task is archived and can be searched at a later date.
Pro Includes character recognition for text in images
Google Keep lets users take pictures of physical notes and makes the contents searchable within the app. This can be a convenient time saver for those that do not want to type out the necessary info, but rather take a quick snapshot of it.
Pro Cross platform
This app can be used seamlessly across all platforms including Android, iOS, and desktop computer platforms.
Con Difficult learning curve
You'll spend a lot of time learning all the commands and modes supported in Vim. You'll then spend more time tuning settings to your needs. Although once it's tuned to your needs, you can take your
.vimrc to any machine you need and have the same experience across all your computers.
Con High effort to customize
A lot of time and effort is put in to make it specific to your needs.
Con Poor feature discoverability
Though basic features like syntax checking, autocompletion, and file management are all available out of the box or with minimal configuration, this is not obvious to new users, who might get intimidated or assume they need to install complex plugins just so they can have this functionality. Other features new users might expect to find embedded in Vim, such as debugging, instead follow a UNIX-style model where they are called as external programs, the output of which might then be parsed by Vim so it can display results. Users not familiar with this paradigm will likely fault Vim for lacking those features as well.
Con Poor support for external tooling
Many plugins depend on optional Python and Lua features, which may or may not be included in whatever binaries are available for your system. And without platform-specific hacks, it is difficult for plugins to operate in the background or use external tooling.
Con Doesn't play nice with the system cut/paste mechanisms
This can be worked around somewhat if you disable mouse for insert mode. You can then right-click your terminal and use paste like you would anywhere else in a terminal.
But it still doesn't feel right when the rest of your system uses Ctrl-C/Ctrl-V, and you have a system clipboard manager, and so forth.
Con Difficult to copy, paste, and delete
Con Foreign keyboards have a hard time on Vim out of the box
A lot of frequently-used keybinds are way harder to access on foreign keyboards because they use different layouts.
For example, Germans use the QWERTZ layout, while French use the AZERTY.
Con User must remember commands instead of point at them in a menu
Con Consume brain energy for editing that should be used for logic
Text editing in vim is awesome, but it requires thinking about combination of commands. In other editors, you don't have to think about how to delete this part of code. You just think about how to implement a feature, what is a good design for this code. Even after you get used to using vim, it still requires your brain for editing.
Con Works poorly out of the box with right-to-left
Con Slow when opening files with very long lines
A lot of very long lines can make Vim take up to a minute to open files, where a few other editors take only seconds to load the same file.
Con Unintuitive mode switching
Con No smooth scrolling
Even with the GUI version, the lines jiggle line-by-line. If you are used to smooth scrolling, this is very annoying, especially when working with larger files.
Con Requires Brain Mode Switching
When editing in vim, you have you use the vim keys; when editing in every other window on your PC, or in Word or Excel or other application, you need to use the standard system key combinations. Learning the vim combinations can actually make you SLOWER at everything else.
Con Google can access and mine your data
You have to be okay with Google analyzing and using your data in order to use Keep.
Con No text formatting
No basic formatting like bold, italics. Makes it harder to do things like meeting notes. Keep is intended as a minimal and quick note taking app, but sadly for those that are looking for something more robust, the features are just not there.
Con Messy if you have lots of notes
Con Not free/libre
This application is proprietary, and thus cannot be modified or freely distributed.
Con Can be taken down some day
As Google is notorious for taking down services, you may end up with just a backup of your notes in XML format and a need to look for a substitute.
Con Google account required
You're required to have a Google account in order to use the app.
Con Organization is limited to just multiple tags for notes
There are no folders in Keep that you can move notes into. It makes the user interface more cluttered, and navigation gets more difficult.
Con No notifications when tasks are added to shared lists
Although the ability to collaborate on lists is advanced, Keep will not let you know when another person adds an item to a list you share.
Con No ability to undo changes
There is no way to revert changes or restore text you may have accidentally deleted (however, you can restore entire notes for up to 7 days after deletion).
Con Synchronization bugs
There are some issues with synchronizing data including laggyness and returning old/deleted items.
Con Not distributed
Cannot run on own servers as Keep will only run on Google's own servers. This increases the risks which are normally associated with handing over critical applications to a large (US) corporation.
Con No dedicated app for windows, linux, mac (except unofficial)
Con No integrated social media sharing
There is no integrated social media sharing if you directly want to post your note to Twitter, Facebook, etc.
Con Cannot share groups of notes (e.g., labels)
Google's equivalent of groups are labels, which can't be shared. By comparison, Trello allows you to share boards with others. Trello also supports grouping through teams. Google Keep has no such concept.
Con Does not integrate with Google Calendar or Tasks
It does not integrate with Google Calendar or other Google Apps with the exception of "Google Now." Keep reminders can appear on Google Calendar, but you can not get reminders and use Tasks at the same time.
Con Scrolling through notes is horrible
There is no options to decrease the surface area of the notes to make it easier to get an overview. Compare this to something like the Apple Notes or Evernote UI and you'll know what I mean.
Con Slow to save the updates
Saving is delayed by a moment and the saving status UI is unclear. You can lose updates if you close the tab too quickly.
Con Not good at all for longer notes
With almost no formatting options whatsoever it's hard to actually use Keep for long-form notes.
Con Too simplistic of an approach
Con Can be difficult to discover the features
Google Keep has slowly been introducing new features, but doesn't do a good job of helping you discover them.
Con Does not offer themes
There is no option for changing the color theme (such as a dark theme) unless you use a 3rd party extension.
Con There is a label limit up to 50
Con Delay between to-do entries
The keyboard closes and reloads between to-do list entries, so the first letters or words may be missed if you’re trying to quickly create a list.
Con No API
Con Notes get lost/deleted and can NOT be recovered
Since nothing is stored locally on the phone, everything can go missing. Google can't recover any of it.
Con No BlackBerry 10 app
No BlackBerry support apart from web.
Con No Windows Mobile app
No Windows Mobile app, and it is unlikely to ever be produced.