Mobility

Uncover the note-taking power of Google Keep

Find out why Jack Wallen believes Google Keep is one of the best of breed for note-taking tools.

Google Keep

Being on the go is all about working as efficiently and effortlessly as possible. And if you're a power tablet users, you know that having the right tool to do the job is tantamount to successful mobile work. Sometimes, however, the right tool might be a bit deceiving. Such is the case with Google Keep. This particular Google application allows you to create and save quick text notes, audio notes, and pictures. Other features include:

  • Voice notes transcribed automatically
  • Home screen widget for capturing quick thoughts
  • Color-coded notes
  • Swipe to archive
  • Turn a note into a checklist by adding checkboxes
  • Access your notes anywhere from Google Drive

Let's install Google Keep and get up to speed with this marvelous tool.

Installation

As you've come to expect, the installation of Google Keep is quite simple. Here's how:

  1. Open the Google Play Store
  2. Search for "google keep" (no quotes)
  3. Tap the entry for Google Keep
  4. Tap Installation
  5. Tap Accept

Once the app is installed, you'll find the Google Keep launcher on your home screen. If not, open up the application drawer, and you'll find it there.

First run

When you first launch Google Keep, you'll have to associate a Google account with the application. This will be in the form of a simple selection window (Figure A). Tap the Google account you want to use, and then click OK.

Figure A

Figure A
Google Keep on a Verizon-branded Samsung Galaxy Note tablet.

Once you've added the account, you're ready to start using Google Keep.

Usage

With Google Keep, you can add text, voice, or picture notes from the main window (Figure B).

Figure B

Figure B
Here you see lists, text notes, audio notes, and pictures.

Each type of item is fairly straightforward:

  • To create a text item, tap the page icon (to the left of the checkmark)
  • To create a list item, tap the checkmark
  • To create an audio item, tap the microphone
  • To create a picture item, tap the camera button

Of course, there's more. Say, for instance, you want to take a text item and turn it into a list item. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Single tap a note to open it
  2. Tap the menu button in the upper right corner
  3. Tap Show Checkboxes
  4. Add your checkbox items

That's it! You've now turned a standard note into a check list. You can also add checkboxes to audio and picture items.

The sync between Google Keep on your tablet and your Google apps account is automatic. This means that you can access and edit those items from anywhere that has a browser. You don't have to do anything to convert audio notes to text notes — both versions of the item are automatically saved to your tablet and your account. Just keep in mind, the longer the audio note, the longer it will take to sync. You can download the audio portion of the note, which will appear as a .3gpp file (a Google streaming format). Most audio players will play these audio files, but you can't edit them.

It may seem that Google Keep is too simple an application to be considered useful for business-minded power users, but that's not the case. Google Keep is one of the best of breed for note-taking tools. Install it, associate it with your Google account, and enjoy the power given to you by this free app from the makers of everything Google.

Do you use Google Keep? Share your experience with this app in the discussion thread below.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

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