Google's Keep is new entrant in digital memo market

Google Keep
Image caption The Android app allows users to create a checklist

Anyone who has ever jotted down a note on the back of an envelope and promptly lost it might be interested in Google's latest offering, Keep.

The service allows users to keep checklists and voice notes, and annotate photos.

The digital memo market is a burgeoning one and the offering will put Google head to head with services such as Evernote.

Experts predict that Google might have entered the market a little too late.

Memory aid services are striking a chord with consumers and employees who are increasingly swamped by information.

Current market leader Evernote has 15 million active users.

Microsoft has a similar product - OneNote - and there are smaller rivals such as Springpad and Catch.

Now it seems Google wants a piece of the action.

"Every day we all see, hear or think of things we need to remember. Usually we grab a pad of sticky notes, scribble a reminder and put it on the desk, the fridge or the relevant page of a magazine," said Google software engineer Katherine Kuan in a blog post.

Keep is Google's attempt to turn this ad-hoc notetaking into a more efficient digital service.

"With Keep you can quickly jot ideas down when you think of them and even include checklists and photos to keep track of what's important to you," she added.

The information is stored in Google Drive. Users can also speak memos and Keep transcribes them. And there is a search facility for people to quickly find what they are looking for.

Currently Keep is available only via the web or as an app for phones and tablets running Android 4.0 or above.

'800lb gorilla'

But with little to differentiate it from competitors, some feel Google may struggle to make an impact.

"My gut instinct is that Google may have come too late to this. It has a track record - with cloud services and social networking - of coming too late and struggling to make an impact," said Chris Green, principal technology analyst at Davies Murphy Group.

"But, if anyone can make an impact, it will be Google," he added.

"If there is a 800lb gorilla like Google behind you you are going to be worried. Evernote cannot rest on its laurels but it does have a huge user base and they are not all going to desert it overnight."

Tony Cripps, analyst at research firm Ovum, thinks Google might benefit from the fact that many already use its myriad services.

"If you are a converted Google user it represents a good option. There is a level of convenience about having access to a range of services using one log-in," he said.

"I use Evernote but I'll give this a spin and see if it works for me."

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