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Google Keep – Save what’s on your mind (googleblog.blogspot.com)
72 points by swohns on Mar 20, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 66 comments

I would have jumped on this a year ago.

The elephant in the room with every one of the Google announcements is that they've drained their coffers of trust/goodwill with the early adopter crowd, which is precisely the group you need to kick these things off.

Until Larry Page makes a clear, official public comment about this, I'm left wondering what is considered core product and what isn't. Is this? Is it an experiment? I get that this integrates with Drive, which is core product (it is, right?). Not the point. Using a new tool is me spending time and effort to learn/use/integrate into a workflow.

Until I know that I'm not going to be backtracking on this territory in two years when Google has another epiphany about strategy, I'm left feeling genuinely skeptical.

I'm not part of the whole Google Reader hate bandwagon, but this one makes me puzzled too. Isn't Google Keep a shade too similar to Google Notebook ( http://www.google.ca/googlenotebook/faq.html ), a product they shut down a couple years ago?

Does this show a lack of foresight in maintaining products, a lack of dedication to making them successful, or what? There's clearly a problem here.

Google has the same duplication problem all over the place -- constantly recreating projects that they've previously shut down, or running several redundant projects simultaneously. Google Chrome and the AOSP Browser, Buzz/Orkut/G+, Sites and Blogger (and whatever they had before). Reader and Currents, What is going on here? Rather than improving a project, they seem to have this epidemic problem of creating a whole new one and letting the old one get lost in the fray.

Writing code is fun. Maintaining code sucks. You expect A programmers to stoop to maintaining old crap?

Wait, wait, wait... have we finally concluded on the narrative that Google just throws random pies at the wall to see what sticks? Because I'm pretty sure that's been their modus operandi for the last fifteen years.

That said there's a Google clone for every single popular web product of the past five years that they dogfood constantly. That's all they kind of do these days, hire smart kids into trendy things. Whether pulling the trigger to launch them publicly, maintaining them publicly, or even as much as supporting them...

Well, if it doesn't make a buck selling ads and contribute to keeping that $50B/yr consolidated revenues growing year-over-year then it's just corporate charity work.

Making billions and billions of dollars while beholden to shareholders? That's a good evil problem to have.

There's also a Chrome extension developed by Google that does notekeeping and syncing. Not exactly the same, but along a similar vein is the Todo list functionality in Gmail. Assuming Google is committed to notekeeping, which one of their solutions is the "right one" to use?

This is a really nice comment that I think really cuts to the meat of the issue. I'll admit to being a pretty big Google apologist, but now that we know they are willing to ax services with devoted followings it makes me really hesitant to take the dive on new products they are releasing. My confidence in them being willing to support these services down the road has been great impacted.

Now with every new Google that gets released the first question that goes through my brain is "Will this be here in 2 years". That can't be a good thing.

They kept Google Reader for 8 years before shooting it...

That's a very relevant point. I'd say that for about 4 or 5 years it was in a safe, stable zone in the product strategy, but for the past 3-4 it was a dead app walking. Those last 4 years also say Wave, Buzz and other very big, public launches of products that were killed within a year each.

Clearly Google saw that it was flinging spaghetti at the wall just to see what stuck and decided

1) be really careful about big public announcements, people get excited, the product doesn't deliver and we look bad then

2) refocus (even if I don't like the strategy, at least they have one, so this is good, assuming they really are focused)

The problem is that they are now gun shy about saying anything clearly, apparently.

It's like a teenager that buys a new outfit they really like and mentions it only casually because if they get rebuffed by the peers for wearing it, they can always claim they didn't like it that much.

Sometimes you have to just define your own style and wear the outfit, man. Be proud.

That's what Google is missing.

And Wave was the next big thing, until they suddenly put a bullet in it.

Yes, it was "opened" and the code persists, to some extent.

I think a lot of people here on HN may nonetheless be pissed that, in the process, they absorbed and then destroyed the official, supported version of EtherPad.

Maybe EtherPad as company / commercialized product wouldn't have made it... But, maybe it would have. Regardless, Google burned a lot of good will with that one, too.

And, as numerous commenters have pointed out with respect to Keep: Google Notebook.

P.S. In my opinion, what killed Wave was not the technology (or, "concept"), but in part a batshit heavy and obscure UI. One of the early signs of Google's trend towards a "design ueber alles" failing.

Having spent many years in corporate environments, I saw Wave (as technology/"concept") as a real solution to a number of longstanding, pernicious problems I'd encountered with electronic communication, and its effect upon work, in those environments.

I never used Reader much (signed up and subscribed to the same feeds I already followed, but a local reader was quicker and easier for me). But I gather from many comments that its key, distinguishing features were not the straightforward feed processing but the "social" aspect of the product. The "network" and "meta" that Reader enabled.

For a company that (Google+, etc.) seems particularly interested at present in focusing on "network", this seems to be a particularly boneheaded move.

I also agree with the philosophy of "don't piss off the alpha nerds... although I don't particularly like the descriptor "alpha". They have a canny knack of revealing the interesting (and "interesting" is what sells, online). And of being good hires, for creating same.

For all the talk of focus after Larry Page took over, Google still seems to be releasing half baked products. I tried switching from Dropbox to Google Drive to get double the storage for the same price. Uploaded 100 gigs, got an error, and was told I had to re-download the 100 gigs to sync again. Using an early version of a Google product for a trusted system is riiiiisky.

Yay, more indignant Reader protest in the form of casual comments about a different Google launch, how refreshing!

As you noted Drive is actually acknowledged to be under someone's management (Apps) and not an afterthought kept on life support, so there's that.

And worst case scenario you can export your data and stick it in any number of similar services out three, it took me all of 3 seconds with Reader.

You must be some sort of savant, being able to manage the switch from Google Reader in 3 seconds.

How is the concern over first-adapter respect at all deserving of the dripping-with-sarcasm snark of your comment? Why is it so terrible that someone brings up the fact that Google now has a reputation for simply deadpooling products they no longer wish to support but that others have begun to rely on?

Why, on earth, should I trust a product that is meant to keep a record for me, when I can no longer trust the long-term support of said product.

But such concerns, to you, are pointless to discuss, because if this eventually gets deadpooled, all we'll have to do is take 3 seconds to pull out our data and move to a different product.

It has less to do with my superior intellect and more with the fact that every wannabe reader has an import from Reader button, which is made possible by Google allowing data portability.

You could buy more Drive storage to put your mind at ease (free v paid and all that), but keep in mind that the chances of whatever you're using getting bankrupt or "acqui-hired" away are just as likely.

I still believe that "3 seconds" was figure of speech for all practical reasons.

Switching is not just: [1. download GR OPML -> 2. upload to some Feed_Service_XYZ -> 3. Bingo!].

Not for a person who had curated his feeds over the years. Starred, tagged and have been using GR's sync services almost everywhere. He might be using it subscribe to new feeds on the web. Share. Etcetera.

But you might be knowing better(I mean about your comment).

"Changing priorities isn’t a problem"

I love the irony.

The ceaseless whining over Google Reader is getting tiresome - I don't think there's been a Google-related post in the last week that had discussion actually related to the article.

Google took a zombie out back and double-tapped it. You can download your data. You have plenty of alternatives eager for your business. Move on.


A lot of Google's business is based on our trust. We have to trust them as a company, and we have to trust their ecosystem if we're going to invest our time and data into it. If they consistently violate that trust, shouldn't we get at least a little upset?

We also have to trust them to shed dead weight or they will turn into a bloated whale that is never able to produce anything of quality. They gave plenty of warning time and have made it very easy to easily export our data.

Before you put your data in this, make sure there's a way out because Google has the nasty habit of discontinuing its stuff.

I just checked Google Takeout, it's not listed there yet.

I think that's because it's dropping it right on your Google Drive. It's taken out by nature, all the time, whenever you sync.

I don't find my notes in drive. Except for the URL there seems to be me no connection to drive.

You're right, neither do I.

But tfa clearly says, "Your notes are safely stored in Google Drive and synced to all your devices so you can always have them at hand." - So, I dunno.

EDIT: dammit, down at the bottom - last line - " in the coming weeks you'll be able to do the same[view,edit,etc.] directly from Google Drive."

Ah, I guess that settles that, then.

I've created a test note and force synced both Keep and Drive, and I also do not find my note in Drive.

I do hope that Drive will contain Keep notes, though, as that would seem like an optimal solution.

My initial reaction was that they were doing a read it later service and competing with the likes of Pocket. That would be a disaster as that area doesn't need competition at this time.

But it appears that they are targeting a light weight evernote replacement. A killer feature for me on this would be a command line binary which calls up my $EDITOR and allows me to write a note immediately and have them synced immediately. This, with the power of lighter production of notes on mobile devices could find a place into my workflow.

this would be a killer feature for you and about 17 other people - if they don't already use dropbox for that.

if that sounds offensive, just look at the number of reader users - and it got axed. google doesn't aim at tens of thousands, it aims at millions.

> google doesn't aim at tens of thousands, it aims at millions.

I think that is a bit simplistic in terms of why they shut Reader down. Reader was in conflict with their G+ strategy, distracting millions of highly influential people out of G+ and into a cannibalising product and technology (RSS) with no clear G+ integration path. Google wants those people using G+. Even if only 10% of them convert to G+ thats better than 100% of them using Reader and living outside the G+ bubble. I suspect Reader was in the awkward situation of being too small for Google to devote a major product / engineering effort to migrate it's features into the G+ world but too big for them ignore and just leave running as a side project.

Ok perhaps an API would suffice for me.

I will happily write said script. Google aim's at the thousands but I feel they are in danger of neglecting the fact that people who want features like this make services like this popular i.e the tech community are early adopters and they generally recommend tools (especially tools like this) to their less tech savvy friends. Cater in a small way (you still need your swanky android apps and colors) for the hardcore tech, and you add users.

I think with the prioritisation / reordering features on mobile it's more of a Google Tasks replacement seeing as how GTasks has received very little attention since it was launched.

No integration with Google Tasks? It may be barebones and needing some love, but I like having it to the side of my calendar.

Google Tasks might be a candidate for next Spring cleaning.

Interesting. I was hoping this would mean that tasks would be taken out of calendar. I guess when you have millions of users, every action delights some and angers others.

I know it's been said a million times already, but no way would I use this service after they shut down Reader.

Maybe they're just fishing to see how much marketshare they can take away from Evernote? If it's enough they'll keep it and improve it. But if it doesn't capture enough marketshare, I expect to see it culled in a few years as well.

Remember Google Notebook?

I loved the Firefox extension for Notebook. Hope they make one for Keep as well!

I do need something like this; my Gmail is littered with drafts that I created as notes to myself when I frantically needed to jot something down.

However it would be a thousand times better with time / date / calendar integration. A large percentage of my random notes to myself are reminders to do something by a particular time "pay electricity bill by thursday". Even their example video shows this. Right now I use an app (Voice Calendar) which puts an event in my calendar. However these aren't really events and it pollutes my real calendar with all kinds of junk. I find it weird that despite having awesome email and awesome calendar, Google has really not done a good job of integrating their ecosystem into an exchange-like competitor yet.

I keep seeing this listed as an Evernote competitor. I have a sneaking suspicion that people saying that have never consistently used Evernote since it does so much more than Keep apparently does.

Yeah I don't think I'm going to fall for another product that looks like it'll disappear in a few years time when google HQ gets bored of it.

"oops! an error occurred" On google chrome on windows 7

Not quite prime time ready? Or am I the only one?

You aren't the only one.

Boy, I can't wait to have two years worth of notes 'No longer supported'! Sign me up!

Is this sort of an announcement that Google failed to buy Evernote, so they decided to create a project that does exactly the same things and that will be discontinued after a while because it's not Google's focus?

How does this compare to Evernote?

(I wish there was a way to filter out all the comments referring to Reader. Most people including me don't care that they discontinued it so please stop spamming about it everywhere.)

So 80% of the comments here mention the Reader and yet you surmise that most people don't care about it?

Regardless of what your personal relationship to the Reader issue is, you might consider the possibility that THIS product is axed after a few years when you are used to it.

80% on HN, 20% on other tech sites, <1% overall.

I don't think it's very likely. And even if it is I would just export my data and go to another service. "But I'm used to it" is no argument since we're so adaptable.

drive.google.com/keep/ keeps giving me errors. I don't see how this is going to be an Evernote-killer for me though. (I am actually new to Evernote, but it's been wonderful so far.) I actually don't like google's unified product integration! If there was a clear way to export or use webhooks to retrieve these notes, I'd reconsider.

"Oops! An error occurred. Please click here to reload the page."

I'm getting it, too.

Me three, over and over.

I've got no time to invest in this. I'm too busy finding an alternative for Reader and seriously looking at alternatives for Gmail because I'm just plain torqued at Google right now.

Keep your stuff at Google - until their next spring cleaning!

So it's Evernote, but with two panes and a white widget?

... until you start relying on it. Then Google will shut it down. No way I'm using any more Google products except the one I pay for (mail).

... until they kill it because nobody used it.

I am getting the same reload error on Google Chrome on Win 8 notebook. Not a very good way to launch a new product.

Mobile app lacks barcode scanning. I'll play around But Springpad still better from what I can see.

Searching in Market/Play sucks. Try to find Google Keep now. Impossible.

No need, they linked it in the article: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.and...

It was way down the list for some reason. Look for the yellow icon.

If they put it at the top of the list, people would just complain about showing favoritism for their own apps. Can't win.

you can't even make a nested list or a proper table right now. i'll wait a couple of weeks during which i'll probably forget about the thing.

When this service will be retired?

Any bets on when this is going to be discontinued?

Yep, right after you get hooked on it.

Is this hosted on Google Drive?

Anyone know if they did a post-mortem post explaining the Google Drive outage from a couple of days ago?


The post quickly disappeared off the HN front page despite having a lot of upvotes, perhaps due to flagging.


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