Get started with Google Keep

We take a look at what you need to know to get started with Google's new note-taking app Keep.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Google just made an announcement introducing Keep , its new note-taking service. Keep is currently available for devices running Android 4.0.3 and up, or through the Google Drive Web site. Notes will automatically sync between the Web site and the Android app.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

After installing the Android app you'll be prompted to select the Google account you want to use with Keep. Once that's done, you can begin keeping notes. There are four different methods you can use to enter a note:

  • A quick note directly from the text box on the initial screen.
  • Add a checklist by tapping on the check mark icon.
  • Create a voice memo by tapping on the microphone. All memos are instantly transcribed, keeping both the audio and text in the note.
  • Add a photo as a note by tapping on the camera.

At any time you can add a checklist to an existing note by tapping on the menu button and selecting "Show Checkboxes."

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

While viewing a note you'll be able to assign it a color by tapping on the color palette at the top of the screen. The colors will come in handy when trying to organize your notes, but as it stands now, you have to change the color manually for each note. It would be nice if you could create categories and automatically assign colors based on those categories.

You can also add a photo to any existing note by tapping on the camera along the top of the screen. Any photo you add has to be taken at the time you add it; you can't add previously snapped photos from your Gallery.

Once you're done with a note you can archive it by swiping in either direction across the note.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

To rearrange notes you simply tap and hold on a note and drag it to where you want it. You can change the layout between multicolumn and single-column view through the menu.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

There are two widgets included with the app. The first widget will place a shortcut bar to create notes with, and will let you scroll through your existing notes directly from your home screen. The second widget is only a shortcut bar. Should you be using an Android device running Android 4.2 or later, you'll be able to add either widget to your lock screen for quick access to your Keep entries.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

The Google Drive page for Keep is pretty straightforward and mirrors the basic functionality of the Android app. You can add, edit, archive, and delete your notes with just a few clicks.

The combination of various note types is nice: a checklist for shopping, photos to help you remember something, and voice notes for when you can't type a long note. But if I'm supposed to be adding reminders to the app (watch the video included in CNET editor Casey Newton's post ), then why can't I set alarms for reminders? There's some work to be done still with Keep before it's going to replace other task management and note-taking apps.

Have you found any tips or tricks in Google Keep not mentioned above? Let us know in the comments below.

 

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