Last updated: 15 May 2020 | Reading time: 4.5 minutes | Watching time: 5 minutes
OneNote is a note-taking service from Microsoft, while Google Keep also called Keep Notes, is the Google version of OneNote. The purpose is the same, but there are many features which make them different. How do Google Keep and OneNote differ? To find out, the blog post covers: Google Keep vs OneNote.
Google Keep does not come as a desktop application so we will use Keep web as the desktop app. Google Keep web offers a plain interface with an option to enable the dark mode. All the notes are on the main screen with an input field and a search bar on the top. As there is no desktop app, a user can access the notes by going to https://keep.google.com/.
Other than the web, you can also download the Chrome extension and app, and write notes on the go. Furthermore, alongside the text, a user can create images notes and draw with the mouse or pen. Keep places all the pinned notes on the top.
OneNote is a multi-level app which offers notebooks, sections, and pages where pages are notes. OneNote web has a few options missing compared to OneNote desktop. Users can access their notes online by visiting https://www.onenote.com/. The app has a unique feature of saving text, images, drawing etc. in components allowing them to overlap onto each other. Being one of the Office apps, it has the standard navigation bar on the top, which separates text, drawing, and importing tools.
Editing and tools
The most prominent part of Google Keep vs OneNote is their features, security, and tools. Google Keep desktop offers these tools
- Simple text
- Pictures (local)
- Text indent
- Checkboxes (to-Do)
- Text labels
Google Keep has a reminding feature. The downside is, it only allows one reminder per note at a time. Other than that, you can set labels (tags) to certain notes to distinguish between them; also, labels can be searched. Goole Keep does not offer rich text editing tools, but on the mobile app, it pastes the text in the copied format and saves in the plain format. OneNote desktop contrarily supports all these tools
|Fonts||Font size||Text bold|
|Tables||File upload||Pictures(web & computer)|
|Symbols||Heading (1 to 6)||Citation|
|Draw (pen, pencil, highlighter)||Shapes||Lists|
Other than above, some of the noticeable features of OneNote are assistant, password, and dictate. Assistant is an AI-based tool which can do basic tasks such as paste text, bold text, create a To-Do list, etc. It does not support voice typing, and the option can be found on the top right.
The password feature on sections offers security. You can’t set passwords on the mobile app, as the feature is available on the desktop version, but you will need to enter the password on all the devices to open the protected sections. The dictate tool is another AI-based tool to help in converting the speech to text. A user must speak for the AI to transcribe.
Review: The desktop battle goes to OneNote. Google Keep is still new, and the software’s simplicity makes it unique, but not enough to overcome OneNote.
Comparison in a video
Before we begin reading the blog post, let’s take a look at the comparison video. This covers the most basic functionalities.
Interface and tools
Google Keep offers an easy to navigate interface. We get notes, left menu, sort, search and add new notes button at the bottom. The mobile app also offers a dark theme which follows the phone’s theme, but you can manually enable in the settings menu. A few other settings include reminder timing (morning, afternoon, and night) and link previewing options. Google Keep mobile and desktop versions support the same features.
OneNote mobile does not come with the assistant, password setup, dictate, and rich editing tools such as inserting tables, headings etc. The app comes with sticky notes feature, which is limited to mobile. You can also change the colour of sticky notes and attach images.
On Android, both offer widgets. Google Keep offers two types of widget. A user can write instant notes by using the quick capture widget, while the note list widget is for seeing the notes on the home screen. It comes with multiple options, including all notes, pinned notes, reminders, and user-created text labels.
OneNote comes with five widgets in total. A user can create notes, start an audio recording, start just the text note, take a photo and create a note, and open the recent notes.
Regarding sharing and collaboration, I would say Google Keep is the winner. Google Keep web, as well as mobile apps, come with the same sharing features, whereas OneNote does not. With Keep, you can add people to collaborate, send a copy of the note via other apps, and convert to document and edit in Google Docs.
OneNote desktop offers to share the notes with the view and edit permissions, while the mobile app only supports sending the note in the plain text and in PDF format.
We have covered the essential tools, let’s take a look at the little features which can make a difference.
- The app offers an option to pin the notes on the top.
- Offers an Ink mode and enables the drawing mode when the stylus is close on Note devices
- OneNote badge option adds a floating badge to open OneNote anywhere
- Provide an option to control the synchronisation by disabling the files and image sync
Review: Unlike desktop comparison, the mobile comparison was solid. Overall, OneNote gets this mobile round as well.
Which one is for you?
The answer to this question can be found in what versions you will be using? If you want to stick with the mobile, then both will do the job, but if you want to work on desktop/web as well as on mobile, then OneNote is the tool to select.
Google Keep vs OneNote covered important features. I hope the information was helpful. Please let me know your thoughts about both down below so we can discuss more.