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Web industry: Google can keep Keep

New service promoted after Google kills Reader

With Google Reader’s corpse still warm, and industry experts complaining how Google wrecked the RSS ecosystem with its free model, history could be about to repeat itself; Google has announced Google Keep.

Katherine Kuan, software engineer explained how the service worked, noting that every day we, “see, hear or think of things we need to remember,” and usually jot these notes down on bits of paper or sticky notes that are rarely there when you need them. “To solve this problem we’ve created Google Keep,” she said.

She added, “With Keep you can quickly jot ideas down when you think of them and even include checklists and photos to keep track of what’s important to you. Your notes are safely stored in Google Drive and synced to all your devices so you can always have them at hand.”

The service automatically transcribes voice memos, includes a “super-fast search”, and, as designer and digital strategist Paul Boag said on Twitter, sounds an awful lot like an extant and popular rival service: “So Google close down one of the best and most pervasive apps in its class (Reader) to replace it with a poor copy of Evernote. Good job.”

Boag wasn’t alone in slamming Google’s latest move. “Google Keep: Save what's on your mind. Until we shut it down,” grumbled Box CEO Aaron Levie.

"Wait, there really is a thing called ‘Google Keep’? I thought people made it up as a meta-satire about Google not keeping services running,” quipped web standards guru Eric Meyer.

GigaOm founder Om Malik was also heavily critical. “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Google may think it can waltz into a market that Evernote and others have staked out, but I’m not going to dance,” he said, arguing that the Google Reader experience now makes it hard to trust Google to keep alive an app that you may come to depend on. He also noted that, unlike Google, Evernote is focused solely on its one service, rather than taking a scattergun approach and regularly spring cleaning.

In the comments under Malik's article, reality raised its ugly head, with some noting that Keep’s not going to immediately tailspin through geeks giving it the cold shoulder. However, others argued that those immersed in technology tend to be disproportionately noisy and can have a larger impact on the success or lack thereof of a new service.

As far as Keep goes, the message is pretty clear from the web industry: Google can keep it.

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