Depending on how deeply you or your organization is entrenched in Microsoft or Google technology, you will look to different types of note-taking apps to meet your needs. Let’s review and compare three popular (or soon-to-be popular) offerings.
OneNote and Evernote have been around about the same amount of time, 2003 and 2004, respectively. As such, they are mature and feature rich. Both Evernote and Microsoft have taken user input seriously and added features that enable these tools to accomplish more than just take notes—now, they are also robust repositories for all kinds of content and collaboration. Keep came to be about 10 years down the road. Rather than being the new kid in town, bigger and better, Keep tends to cater to those who really just want a substitute for their sticky-note system of keeping notes. New features have been introduced to Keep as well, but it really does cater to the visual of those colorful sticky notes.
Both OneNote and Evernote deliver a desktop product. This means that you’re able to interact with your notes whether or not you’re connected to the internet. Google is making strides in enabling desktop usage, but this doesn’t extend to Keep at the moment. So, to use Keep you have to be connected.
All of these products are now compatible with just about all platforms. Whether you’re using Windows, MAC, iOS or Android, you should be able to get any of these three to work. In addition, each allows an unlimited number of devices to access a single account.
Both OneNote and Evernote allow attachments; Keep does not. However, consider that the trend is toward cloud storage, which means inserting links rather than inserting attached files will become increasingly prevalent. So this difference may not be as impactful as it seems today. All allow a type of “clipping” to capture screenshots, as well as text, images, audio and stylus handwriting, though the quality may vary depending on connectivity and platform. Beware of non-PC versions of OneNote, though. Not all tagging or content features are as robust on non-PC platforms.
Each product integrates with its preferred email application. OneNote to Outlook, Keep to Gmail. Evernote accomplishes email integration with CloudMagic and Powerbot. Though, with each, you may email a note from the application. Sending email to OneNote is built into Outlook. You’ll need the Google Keep Chrome Extension, which will send a screenshot of the email to Keep from Gmail.
There are devotees of OneNote and devotees of Evernote, each for various reasons. Many of the reasons originally stated no longer exist. If you’ve always used Evernote because it was the only one that was compatible with Mac and iPhone, you might find that OneNote now integrates better with the Microsoft Office tools you work with back at the office. If you are using OneNote to stay organized, but your organization is moving to G Suite, perhaps Keep will work just as well for your purposes. Holding onto product loyalty in spite of how well it serves us may not be a good idea.