Reading a post by Bryan Villarin regarding the day-to-day organizational benefits of Simplenote, I commented briefly on how I use Simplenote and more recently, Google Keep, and how they both excel at note taking in their own ways. So, I thought it would be best to just post some of my own thoughts about the two services.
Firstly, I have been using Simplenote for over four years and continue to use it for keeping all types of day-to-day or longform notes. However, up until recently I discovered the benefits of Google Keep—not as a replacement for Simplenote, but as an alternative to using Simplenote for short or temporary notes and reminders.
Maybe it’s because I use a Nexus 5, but Google Keep is really good at quickly capturing and storing short or temporary notes and reminders. Its integration with Google Now, homescreen and lockscreen widgets, and of course, the whole Google ecosystem. Another nice thing about Keep is the way it organizes notes with it’s ‘card’ style layout, which makes it really easy on the eyes—everything just seems less cluttered, an important element of the whole ‘keeping it short and sweet’ philosophy of the service I think.
What Keep doesn’t do well, seemingly by design, is keeping long notes (which it limits to 9914 characters each) and the ability to sort notes by date modified instead of Keep’s current behavior of pinning notes in their order created, even though notes can be rearranged manually by dragging them around.
Simplenote suites my needs better for day-to-day or longform notes, and whereas it’s layout doesn’t require the attention-grabbing style of Google Keep due to the fact that I don’t always need immediate access to certain notes, hence the usefulness of tags and the addition of a ’Pin’ feature for bookmarking important notes.
Ultimately, I think the main differentiation is that Google Keep is akin to a pad of sticky-notes, and Simplenote is more like a Moleskine notebook. They both accomplish two important things really well.