For about four, or maybe five years, I changed my note app may times. Sometimes it was Microsoft OneNote, sometimes Evernote, and sometimes (but not so often) Google Keep. Last time I decided, that I have to move all notes into one place, and must select the best option for my requirements. Evernote was so close, but… I really don’t want to pay for just notes, without using any special features. Also, paying for data transfer in 2019 is… not fun. But Evernote was so great because of nice hierarchy, and very nice apps: I used to use desktop version, but when they add new web version, decided to move only into it. This time was different, because after some investigation I decided to move all notes to… Google Drive and Google Documents.
Drive is like directory structure
Some people can now say, that it’s very strange decision, and Google Drive is not a good place for notes, it’s not a notes app, and also, Google has Keep application for that. Yes, it’s true, there is Keep, but it’s simple. For me, too simple: it’s possible to create note with text, or with checklist, but not possible to create one note with text and also some checklists. It’s stupid limitation. Also, there and no good way to create real hierarchy. Keep uses only labels and colors, like Gmail. It’s ok if we have only a small number of notes, or if we are used to such system. I’m not, I always preferred a hierarchy similar to directories, subdirectories and files inside them. It’s more natural for me, and allows to create very deep groups, for example: 2019 -> Personal Goals -> Sport -> Competitions and inside that folder, notes about each competition. It may be so complicated for many people, but for me, it’s great, clear option.
Why not Evernote?
So, why not Evernote? It allows to create notebooks, and categories inside them, yes? Yes, but it’s all. You cannot create a category inside other category in many deep levels. Also, as I wrote before, paying for standard options is not normal nowadays. It wasn’t easy, but I moved all my notes into files in Google Drive, in special folder for notes. Now can create any directories structure, can quickly move notes or copy them. I can quickly add new note not only from computer browser, but also from mobile app. Without any stupid devices limit, like on Evernote. Each document can contain a lot of data: not only text, but checklists, tables, images, headers, links and also annotations to other files. There are a lot of formatting options and it’s very nice to create good notes system. I really don’t need a lot, because most of my notes are only text, but these possibilities can change my approach and maybe I will use more options. One disadvantage: I think spell checking on Google Documents sucks. It really sucks in comparison to Microsoft Office Online or Language Tool.
OneNote – yes, but no
I mentioned about Microsoft Online Office, so, why not OneNote? It’s free, it doesn’t have stupid limitations, and it also allow to create many notebooks with different sections and notes inside them. Yes, but it’s also slow, it has many issues with syncing. Desktop app for Mac is terrible I think, and also, it’s too… flexible. Using OneNote, you can start typing in any note place, insert anything in any place. It’s nice, but not exactly for me. It’s like real paper note, because you can draw, write anything anywhere you want, but without pen, without tablet, may be confusing, I think. I tried OneNote many times, and can say, it’s probably the best free notes app (because of pricing in Evernote), but not everyone will be happy with such software. Also, I don’t use many Microsoft services, so it will be not comfortable to install additional apss and use additional webjstes only for notes, if it’s not necessary.
Why I will miss from Evernote? Probably only one option – to use web extension and save page, or prepare pages content as special article and save as note. It’s fantastic option in Evernote and I sometimes used it to save pages with images and tips, for example with information about workouts, stretching etc. Now it will be not possible, but maybe there is similar addon to create document on Google Drive – I’m not sure and must take a moment to looking for something like this. Probably it’s the only one missing thing. Syncing is not a problem because I work online everytime on Google, sharing is also not a problem, because it’s one of core functions in whole Google Documents. Drive storage limit? Maybe, but not in this century I think – not use many files, have a lot of free space and don’t have to pay for additional storage. Also, it’s nice to have everything in one place, I can quickly jump from notes to my other documents, sometimes related.
Google is ok… but sometimes not
Now I see only one disadvantage of this. Evernote is a note app, note service. Only note, and it’s very good in that matter. Google is huge company with a lot of services. Google Documents it’s a web office suite, very good and comfortable, but it isn’t directly for notes. There is also vendor lock-in fact: I use a lot of Google Services, because it’s comfortable for me, but it isn’t good. Do you remember what Google did with Reader? With gTalk? With Google+? They decided to discontinue a lot of nice services, because these services were not so popular and probably not very profitable. For Evernote, notes are everything, it’s their “be or not to be”. If they screw it up, it will be they end. For Google, closing next service is not any problem. I’m sure, that Documents and Drive is now so popular and so important, so it’s not a threat but… It’s still only one part of very big system. Paying and supporting notes-specific app may be better option. What do you think about that, what do you use for notes?