A survey of the available web applications for taking and keeping text notes, covering Google Keep and Simplenotes.
I currently use Google Keep to capture articles that I find interesting, actions that I should remember to do in the future -- but not in a specific date, which belong to the Google Calendar --, information for future reference such as addresses, phone numbers of document numbers, and thoughts that I think is worth writing down.
There are some aspects of Google Keep that I like:
- It is simple and frictionless to add notes. A single line of text or a single URL is enough.
- I can add notes from my phone and from my computer.
- The notes are synced to the phone and can be accessed without internet connectivity.
- Search is good enough and I can usually find things that I've added.
- Can add pictures as notes, and search works on text on these notes too with OCR!
- Most of all, it is simple to use and does not have any excess bloat.
But still, I think that there are some areas that a different solution might work better for me:
- Search is not always fast. For a database which is small enough to fit into a device, it should be instant.
- Search sometimes does not behave in an expected manner. It can sometimes be tricky to find something that you know is there.
- Everything gets thrown into three bins: pinned notes, non-archived notes and archived notes. While this promotes simplicity, I feel that some hirearchy would be valuable for notes with long-term value.
- With the amount of notes that I have, it is impossible to review them in any meanigful fashion, so the value of past notes only surfaces through explicit search.
I've recently read an article that mentioned some popular alternatives for taking notes and I will be looking into a couple of them.
- It can work on Windows, Android and Browser, so it supports every platform that I need.
- Markdown support is appreciated.
- Referencing other notes is also cool.
- Being able to “publish” notes is also very cool.
- Notes are not encrypted at rest, so it cannot be used for sensitive information such as passwords and document numbers.
- Completely free for users and owned by Automattic.