When it comes to taking notes, it’s not only important that the case be done as quickly as possible, but it’s also essential that the apps are available across multiple platforms.
It wasn’t that long ago that Evernote was a favorite among smartphone users, but unfortunately it fell out of favor after changing the price of the product.
So we are left with the very popular Google Keep and Microsoft OneNote apps. These not only have great features but are also free in the market. So it’s only fair to pit the two apps against each other and see who wins in the end. Let the game begins.
To note: We compare Keep’s web application and OneNote.
Google Keep is more than just a note-taking app, it can also disguise itself as a personal assistant when it comes to reminding you of your task or as an image reader (built-in OCR). The best thing about Keep is that you can just click on the note bar and it will make sure your thoughts are captured correctly. It’s incredibly light and is practically available anywhere – iOS, Android, Windows, and as a web app.
Rather, OneNote does the same task in an organized fashion by neatly separating all notebooks and color coding them. My only complaint about this app is that the installation process is rather slow and tedious.
Beyond that, you have the option to scribble and doodle on notebooks, as you guessed it, anywhere. And yes, it is also available on all major platforms.
So that was a quick rundown, let’s take a quick tour of the common tools of both apps.
1. Remember the notes
Of course, the first feature has to be about notes, rather how it can store notes and how you can access them. Google Keep lets you write a note virtually anywhere, which means it has a notepad handy every time you open it. This feature is useful when you are short on time.
Later, when you have enough time to create and organize, you can move the notes between the different labels.
OneNote’s point of view is a little different, it assumes that you have to keep everything neatly organized regardless of the essence of the time.
So if you need to jot something down quickly, you have to go through the process of opening the right notebook and the right page.
2. Collaboration vs sharing
They say that a shared problem is a problem halved and both apps adhere to that thought perfectly. While Keep has it as a Collaborator, OneNote has taken it a step further and lets you share a notebook page or the entire notebook with your friends.
Additionally, OneNote has another cool feature that lets you set the permission level.
I have repeatedly encountered an issue with Keep’s collaboration feature. It just doesn’t show the shared notes in my app, and eventually I had to seek help from another app.
3. Move notes across
Moving notes through the different tabs of OneNote and Keep is a snap. Just in case you managed to make an entry in the wrong section in OneNote, right click and drag the respective note to the section you want.
In Keep, you can choose to do the same by clicking on Edit labels in the hamburger menu. These two features are the same in all respects, the only difference is that OneNote takes a little longer to move notes between labels.
4. Read text from images
Can these two apps read text from images? Oh yes, they can and they are excellent at it. Keep’s OCR feature is disguised as “Capture Text from Image” and it automatically converts text from image to editable text seamlessly and instantly.
The same functionality is present in OneNote in the form of Alternative text and while it does a decent job filtering text from images, the same speed issue arises again. OneNote’s functionality was slow and the text riddled with typos. For example, he continues to confuse W with VV or m with r and n.
5. Keep search against OneNote search
Both apps come with a great search tool, but when they dig deeper into the comparison, Keep seems to be the big winner. It retrieves results instantly (remember, Google Search) and the functionality of OneNote seems dull and slow compared to it.
Plus, if you look at the maneuverability, Keep’s search tool is still there on the page while OneNote requires a few more clicks to get to the point.
There are many other common features like voice memo, video memo, scribble and scribble and these features are comparable to each other.
The UN-Common characteristics
1. Internal links
OneNote is more of an advanced user tool, it’s based on the belief that a user would store tons of notes, annotations, and ideas in it. Building on that fact, it has a smart design that lets you link internally to other notebooks, individual pages, or to a particular section.
All you have to do is right click on the topic and click Copy link to page and paste the link where you want it.
Keep seriously lacks this functionality, but hopefully this shortcoming will be addressed soon.
2. The Microsoft toolbar
While Keep users have to be satisfied with some basic tools like checkboxes, drawing tools, or adding images, OneNote harnesses the power of an MS tool. It features a host of tools such as inserting tables, changing font styles, inserting shapes, and attaching a file to a notebook page.
Beyond that, you have other features like adjusting indentation, bullets, adding image as background image, etc.
This is where Keep is ahead of OneNote. The process of adding Keep’s reminders is simple and barely time consuming. All you need to do is click on the hand icon in the lower left corner and set the time. Most of the current options are already present, you just need to enter the precise times. In addition, you can also add a location to it.
On the contrary, this option is absent from OneNote. While the desktop app helps to do an Outlook task, but then it is missing from the online version which seems to be the preferred weapon of choice for non-Windows users.
If you’ve thought about adding an external link to a phrase or word in your Keep note, you have to wait. At the time of writing this article, Keep has yet to integrate this feature.
Here there is a nifty link feature that lets you do just that. All you have to do is select the word or phrase and click on the link icon in the toolbar.
5. Recovery options and character limit
There comes a time when we accidentally click the delete button. Fortunately, Keep keeps an account of deleted items for seven days. Go to the recycle bin in the left panel and click restore.
Unfortunately, the web version of OneNote still didn’t offer a recovery option. So, if you delete a note by mistake, chances are you have lost it forever.
As for the character limit, Keep has a limit of around 19,952 characters, after which it gives you the option to upgrade to Google Docs.
We tested both apps with a character set of 185116 and OneNote excelled at keeping all of the content without any questions.
Which would you prefer?
So what would be your weapon of choice for keeping your thoughts in writing? If you ask me, Keep can be used for quick notes and reminders while OneNote requires a more sophisticated approach. What is your opinion on this? Let us know through the comments.
Read also: Gboard vs SwiftKey: which is better?
Last updated February 8, 2018
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