You know that saying about pictures and thousands of words. When you’re talking about a device as constrained as a smartphone in terms of screen size, that proverb makes a lot more sense. As part of its day of rolling out updates, Google has beefed up its Keep note-taking app just a bit, adding perhaps a long-awaited feature. Now you can scribble on notes, whether with your finger or with a stylus, bringing some crude drawing and doodling capabilities to the rather simplistic productivity app.
You probably won’t be creating your next art masterpiece with this new feature. Then again, people have been known to create marvels using Microsoft Paint or the most crude smartphone app. What it does do is let you make quick notes and annotations in cases where the typed text isn’t enough. This would be akin to what Skitch, now owned by Evernote, offers, except it is built-in directly into Google Keep.
This brings Google Keep somewhat closer to the competition. In iOS 9, Apple similarly augmented its own Notes app with some basic drawing capabilities. Paper by FiftyThree heavily revamped its app when it launched on the iPhone for the first time, eschewing the sketchbook metaphor it first employed on the iPad for a simpler interaction process.
The new feature has started rolling out to Android users. It isn’t known when or even if it will appear on iOS as well. It was only recently that Google actually made available an official Keep app for Apple’s platform, so it might still take a while.
Google Keep isn’t exactly competing with heavyweight note-taking services like Evernote and OneNote, preferring to stick closer to a sticky pad or notepad metaphor. For more complex notes, Google would prefer you to stick with Google Docs instead. But with Evernote now being labeled as the next dead unicorn in the industry, the market is again ripe for the picking for some smaller, more focused alternatives like this.