Evernote, One Note, Google Keep: Which Should You Use?

There are many note-taking apps and systems out there, but these three with their ties into larger product families are your best options for staying organized at home, at work and on the go.

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Google recently introduced Keep, a note-taking service you can use to organize things you need to remember—notes to yourself, to-do or grocery lists, photos of receipts, a wine label or whiteboard and anything else that makes sense to keep on file. It’s a fantastic idea, although not a new one. Evernote, with its elephant logo and tagline “Remember everything” has dominated the space for the last several years and Microsoft’s OneNote application is a favorite with many.

Which one should you use? The three are alike in many ways—all of them offer free versions, both desktop and mobile access and let you share notes with others. But deeper in, they each offer features that might be better for certain types of people, depending on which ecosystem you’re already invested in.

Here’s how the three services stack up when compared side by side.

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Evernote

While Evernote might not be Google or Microsoft, it’s a beautifully useful and exceedingly popular product.

Features:

  • Web Clipper browser extension sends entire webpages or selective content from a website to your Evernote account
  • Text in photos of signs, labels or handwritten notes are searchable, even in the free version (as opposed to PDF search, which is a paid feature)
  • Multishot camera lets you capture a series of photos in one note
  • Integration with screen capture app Skitch (for iOSAndroidWindowsMac). Lets you annotate photo notes
  • Tags let you easily find categories of notes
  • Connect your Twitter account and send tweets directly to your Evernote account

Smartphone Access: Evernote is available for iOSAndroidWindows Phone and BlackBerry devices and as a downloadable desktop app.

Price: Evernote is available for free. Upgraded service for $5/month or $45/year gets you offline notes, PIN lock, larger uploads, search for text within PDFs, others can edit notebooks and more.

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Google Keep

Google Keep has a uniquely simple interface. And if you’re a heavy Google user, you’ll appreciate how easy it is to get going using your Gmail login credentials and how it marries well with Google Drive. On the downside, there currently isn’t any way to print your notes.

Features:

  • Transcribes voice memos
  • Choose from grid or column format
  • To-do lists in Android app are easy to create
  • Notes can be colored like real sticky notes
  • Simple user interface
  • Good for heavy users of Google products because of how the company seamlessly integrates them

Smartphone Access: Android (4.0 and later) and through any web browser.

Price: Free

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Microsoft OneNote

Microsoft’s note-taking service integrates well with other Office software. So if you use Excel, Word and PowerPoint every day, you’ll likely appreciate OneNote better than the other options.

Features:

  • Desktop app lets you insert a myriad of useful things into a notebook such as audio, video, Office files, scanned images, screen clippings and more
  • Tables in the desktop app are super simple to insert
  • Good for large projects because you can easily nest tiers of information
  • Draw features let you annotate anything
  • Outlook integration
  • Syncs to-do lists between OneNote and Outlook
  • Integration across Office applications; real-time updates, sync to SkyDrive and SkyDrive Pro/SharePoint, auto previews of Excel charts and Visio diagrams

Smartphone Access: Windows PhoneWindows RTAndroidiOS; mobile browsers can access OneNote web appDesktop version available as well.

Price: Desktop version is included with Office 365 ($9.99/month or $99.99 a year) or with purchase of Office download (starts at $139.99).

The in-app purchase option for OneNote on iPhone, iPad, and Android phones removes a 500-note limit. Once mobile app users reach the 500 note limit (which doesn’t exist with the desktop, Office 365  and Windows Phone versions of OneNote), users will only be able to view, delete and sync notes until they purchase the upgrade. In-app purchase varies per platform: iPhone is $4.99, iPad is $14.99, Android phones is $4.99.

There are many note-taking apps and systems out there, but these three with their ties into larger product families are your best options for staying organized at home, at work and on the go.

This article was written by Christina DesMarais and originally appeared on Techlicious.
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16 comments
obriencj
obriencj

It is worth noting that Google has played in this space before, with Google Notes, and that it unceremoniously dropped that service and stranded it's user base. Also, see Google Bookmarks, Google Buzz, Google Wave, and even the widely used Google Reader. It is perfectly possible that Google won't just drop Keep in a few months or a year, but at this point it looks safer to stay clear of Google experiments in favor of services that actually have paying customers. The free tiers of Evernote seem significantly less likely to just disappear since that is their actual business.

Evernote has the privilege of being able to focus. Google creates and discards services quite frequently. Luckily they seem to be dedicated to search and email ;-)

KenoldB
KenoldB

Google Keep for simplicity

techmefr
techmefr

@jaycbee catch note (Nice uc/ui), Google keep (Google), evernote (market)

ggSolutions123
ggSolutions123

My humble advice (might be good for some people, irrelevant to others) - Here goes - I would sign up for the one with the largest community. Evernote has a community on Google Plus. I wanna thank the author of this article because I wasnt aware you could link Twitter to Evernote. I have Evernote (the free kind) and like it tremendously. 

obriencj
obriencj

"its" sorry. iPad autocorrect.