Google Keep Review

Google Keep Review

Mar 22, 2013

A lot of people — the whole wide world, seemingly — are not too happy with Google’s decision to discontinue its popular Reader application.

If Google Keep (it’s newly unveiled cloud-supported note taking app) is supposed to be a mea culpa, Google might already be back in our hearts.


The Android note-taking space is not sparse by any means. There are plenty of note apps, and the competition creates a very high bar. Google’s last offering, Notebook was okay, but lacked oomph. Thus, even Google needs a pretty good offering to stay abreast. Keep, I think, does that.

Simplicity, Google’s oft-repeated mantra, is clearly at work here. The interface is clean, with minimalist undertones that seemingly beg to be filled with information. The default light grays and whites combined well. Per user interface, the app allowed for dual panes or a single line of notes, and I was also able to personalize notes by switching background color.

The “simple” looks translated to the on-screen controls as well, with the developers opting for a regular entry button, a check box marker, a microphone for dictated text and a control to invoke the camera for imaged notes. In real-world tests, the entry sequences were smooth and intuitive. The audio functionality worked very well, which was key for me; many of my note entries are dictated, so accuracy is important. I liked that i could archive notes by swiping and toggle check boxes on the fly.

I think the true strength of Keep is it functionality. Google makes the app sync to Google Docs, which is a positive if you have already started using Google Docs. I love the ability to look up and access and/or edit files on the go. It worked well with my device’s share functionality; it pulled in actual text from the note into the my calendar app, instead of a link to the note url as one leading note app does. Now, I would loved to see it pull information from the app, liked entered dates, to create a true calendar entry. Street addresses entered into the app became clickable links that automatically invoked the map app; phone numbers pulled up the dialer. A resizeable widget adds to the overall appeal.

I would have loved for a filing convention of some sort, but barebones is barebones.

Time will tell if Keep will develop a following. It has plenty of upside, but the cool thing is that it seems to be so useful already.

Free App Recap November 6 – Media Players

Free App Recap November 6 – Media Players

Nov 6, 2012

Music is the staple of the many people’s lives. When picking a music player, there are a lot of different features and options out there. This week I’ll be talking about a few different Android music player options. Depending on the specific needs, there are a ton of different options.

n7player Music Player

n7playern7player is a 3D music player for Android. The 3D part of the app is the visualization and other parts of the display. Being able to zoom in and out to see the music from a different view. Another cool feature is the tag cloud. The tag cloud shows the different types of music and terms that makes finding the right song, artist or album a lot easier.

Download n7player Music Player

doubleTwist Player

doubleTwist-PlayerdoubleTwist Player is more than just an average player. There are other add-ons that use doubleTwist Player as the base. Also, this is the only player on the list that can sync with iTunes directly. By using an add-on such as AirSync by doubleTwist, iTunes can be synced wirelessly. Not only can the songs be synced, podcasts can be synced and played too. Smart Playlists are there for easy access to most played and top rated songs.

Download doubleTwist Player

Google Play Music

Google-Play-MusicGoogle Play Music is the Google made app out of the group. What this app brings to the table is song storage. Attached to a single Google Account, 20,000 songs can be stored to access from any Android device or via the web. Music can be synced with a desktop through the Google Music Manager. To listen to songs offline, any or all of the music can be downloaded to the Android device.

Download Google Play Music