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Google 'Keep' App Outed: Beware Evernote?

Screenshots of an unreleased Google service called Keep suggest that the company will return to providing users with a note taking app.

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Although Google has discontinued over 70 products since September 2011, its executions aren't final. The company has a habit of reviving dead services in a different package.

Google Wave, among the company's most high-profile flops, was discontinued last year, but the technology that made it interesting -- operational transformation -- became the foundation of Google Docs collaboration.

Google Buzz contracted a fatal privacy infection and only lasted for a year and a half before being buried. But it came back in the form of Google+.

[ Find out more about Google's latest downsizing victim, Google Reader. ]

The latest reincarnation appears to be a note-taking app called Google Keep. Google did not respond to a request to comment on whether the product exists. But files and code found by developer Carlos Jeurissen and posted to his Google+ Page 1E100 suggest that Google is attempting to improve on Google Notebook, a note-taking app shut down last year.

Having identified an unannounced Google Account service called "Portal," Jeurissen said that signing in to the Portal -- itself a mystery -- added a new service called "Google Keep." The links cited currently return errors. Presumably, Google removed public access to the files in question. But another website, Android Police, also obtained screenshots of Google Keep.

Note-taking apps let users collect and store text, images, links and other media formats for personal use and sharing.

Google's note-taking app is likely to be more mobile friendly than Google Notebook, in order to compete with Evernote, a popular cross-platform note-taking app. The Android Police screenshots suggest that Keep will be integrated with Google Drive -- for storing the notes -- and with mobile device cameras.

Google's interest in Evernote might have something to do with the fact that the service has grown to about 50 million users since it launched in 2008 and generates meaningful revenue, something Google Notebook never managed.

However, Google's willingness to terminate under-performing products leaves an opening for critics. Commenting in the 1E100 thread, a Microsoft employee named Julien Couvreur cites Google's previous shutdown of Notebook and its recently announced plan to discontinue Reader, then asks, "Do you really want to [be dependent] on an experimental Google service which may be killed off in a few years?"

In response, Emory University Web developer Kristian Serrano observes that because Keep appears to be tied to paid services -- Google Drive and Apps -- its survival looks more likely.

As to when Google Keep might be released, Google hasn't said. The company incubated Google Drive for six years.

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User Rank: Strategist
3/20/2013 | 2:57:33 PM
re: Google 'Keep' App Outed: Beware Evernote?
I would use such a service particularly if it were well integrated with Google Docs, Drive and Quick Office at least to the level that OneNote integrates with MS Office. In fact, that might make me switch allegiance from Libre Office to Docs or QO.
User Rank: Apprentice
3/20/2013 | 1:16:21 AM
re: Google 'Keep' App Outed: Beware Evernote?
A couple of days ago I was viewing my neighborhood on Google satellite map - and, to my delight, noticed they had updated the map to include recently constructed round-about. The view seemed different and bright - and lasted about 10 seconds. After a refresh I was staring at the map as it has always been without the round-about. I'm wondering if I got a glimpse of a pending update, or an actual satellite view?
User Rank: Apprentice
3/19/2013 | 11:07:56 AM
re: Google 'Keep' App Outed: Beware Evernote?
I have to agree with the article on one count ... after Google READER and iGoogle and some of the others I am not as eager to jump on a Google service as I once was. I use Evernote and can not imagine leaving it for a Google product that, as stated you have no idea how long will be around ... or .. how long before the only way to get at it is via some funky tie in to G+?

No thinks
David Rothwell
David Rothwell,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/19/2013 | 9:28:32 AM
re: Google 'Keep' App Outed: Beware Evernote?
"The company has a habit of reviving dead services in a different package."

So very true.

Although not discontinued, Google Base languished for years - then it was revived as Merchant Center, which is now at the heart of Google's onslaught into the physical product space (and more...) to take on Amazon and Groupon.

Ultimately, I can see that any merchant, with any inventory (think hotel rooms, airplane seats, autos, and so on), will be able to upload a feed of it to a Google database (maybe Merchant Center), and serve it up in almost real time from the AdWords platform via a growing number of Ad Extensions.

Their Ad Innovations page gives a glimpse into Comparison Ads, which I foresee as the Death of Comparison Sites.
User Rank: Apprentice
3/18/2013 | 9:42:43 PM
re: Google 'Keep' App Outed: Beware Evernote?
I'm a big Evernote user and fan. If, in fact, Google is tackling this space, it legitimizes it that much more (not that it needed to be legitimized). Evernote's done a good job of building a developer ecosystem around the product, mobilizing it, and creating premium service, so this would be difficult to catch up to . . . one would think Google's large developer base may give it a run for its money (there's no magic to a note-taking app; there's a lot of magic to making it searchable, extensible, usable). At last year's Google I/O I sat in on a Google Drive API session that got me pretty excited, but I haven't heard too much about Drive apps lately (then again, maybe I'm not listening in the right places; or maybe Google and the app providers aren't marketing it well) . . . to compete with Evernote, Google's going to have to do a better job on building the ecosystem.
User Rank: Author
3/18/2013 | 8:54:00 PM
re: Google 'Keep' App Outed: Beware Evernote?
Interesting Tom -- I'm a huge user of Penultimate (which Evernote acquired) for hand-written notes but have never caught the Evernote bug. Need to try it again.
Google in the Enterprise Survey
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There's no doubt Google has made headway into businesses: Just 28 percent discourage or ban use of its productivity ­products, and 69 percent cite Google Apps' good or excellent ­mobility. But progress could still stall: 59 percent of nonusers ­distrust the security of Google's cloud. Its data privacy is an open question, and 37 percent worry about integration.
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