Is Google challenging Evernote, reviving Notebook with Keep?

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Google Reader fans disheartened about the end of their favorite RSS client can seize hope that its services may someday return. A purported new service called Keep may pluck some functions of the deceased Google Notebook from the digital void.

The new product appears aimed at web data-saving services such as Evernote and Springpad.

References to Google Keep were recently uncovered by 1E100  in the code for Google Drive as well as on various Google pages throughout the Web. Most of these references wereq quickly yanked, except for Keep’s product icon, still online Monday morning. The icon is in the same Google hidden directory as the logos for other Google services such asBlogger andDocs.

1E100 is a new Google+ page dedicated to uncovering product news from the search giant; 1e100 is scientific notation for 1 Googol, the search company’s mathematical namesake.

Remember Notebook?

Google Notebook launched in 2006 as a service that let you write and store notes online, bookmark Web pages, and take Web clippings. The basic concept of Notebook was very similar to Microsoft’s OneNote, a desktop freeform note-taking app. Google stopped accepting new users for Notebook in early 2009 and only discontinued the service last July, folding existing user data into Google Drive.

Keep is apparently similar to Notebook, but doesn’t appear to be as full-featured as its predecessor, assuming an official product resembles what has leaked online. The Android-focused site Android Police reports it was able to log in and try Keep soon after 1E100’s discovery. Similar to Notebook, Keep could be used to write out a few lines of text and save an image from the Web, although full Web page clipping wasn’t mentioned. You could also use Keep to create a checklist, which is welcome news for veteran Notebook users who relied on the service to create to-do lists. Keep also let you color code all your different notes, photos, and checklists. Soon after reports of Keep surfaced, the service disappeared from the Web.

If Keep is released as an actual product in the coming days or weeks, it sounds like it will function similarly to apps such as Evernote and Springpad. These services are also online note-taking apps that let you store text, images, and Web content in the same document.

Don't get too attached

Anyone hoping to try out a new Google toy should beware the spring cleaning bug. When Google stopped working on Notebook in 2009, the company hinted there weren’t enough users to justify working on the product—a comment echoed when Google announced it would shut down Reader. “We have to decide where to focus our efforts and which technologies we expect will yield the most benefit to users in the long run,” Google said in 2009 of the Notebook closure. Then, as now with Reader, a small, but vocal group were sad to see Notebook go and offered stories about Notebook replacements.

So If Keep does become a reality, especially so soon after the demise of Google Reader, don’t get too attached. Because you just never know which service Google will strike down next.

This story, "Is Google challenging Evernote, reviving Notebook with Keep?" was originally published by TechHive.

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