Google launches Keep for personal notes

The Web service and Android app works similarly to Evernote

Google is looking to replace physical sticky notes with Keep, a new product designed for storing notes and other pieces of information.

The company is positioning Keep as a simple organizational tool that lets users jot down literally anything, either by hand or by voice, as they go about their day. Google is calling the product, launched Wednesday, "a central place to save what's on your mind."

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A video describing the product shows a musician using Keep to jot down song titles for a concert set list and telling himself to finalize the guest list. The product includes voice-recognition technology to automatically transcribe spoken memos.

Keep works similarly to Evernote, the popular suite of services for saving ideas and other personal content.

"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," software engineer Katherine Kuan said in a blog post.

Also, as with the company's Google Now personal assistant service, users can open Keep with a widget on their Android phone or tablet so that it is "front and center all the time," Google said.

Notes that are made in Keep are stored in Google's Drive file storage system and can be synced to all of the user's devices, the company said.

Drive is the platform that Google uses to house its suite of Google Docs products, but the company did not specify whether Keep would be able to interact with content residing in Google Docs.

Overall, the product is "a useful addition to Google Drive and Android," said Greg Sterling, senior analyst with Opus Research, though "I don't think it's an Evernote killer by any means," he noted.

Keep is available both on the Web and on mobile devices running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and above. Keep's functionality will also be incorporated directly into Google Drive in the coming weeks, Google said.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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