5 apps to track your every idea

Google isn't the only company trying to dominate note-taking.

google keep

You're sitting in a café for a few minutes scrolling through the news on your tablet when a few ideas suddenly pop into your head about a project at work. In an earlier era, you'd probably jot the ideas down on a napkin and stuff it in your pocket. Or maybe you'd send a quick email to yourself. Neither option is particularly convenient.

Today, a number of online services are trying to solve the problem of note taking on the fly. They give people using a computer or mobile device a central place to save notes, links and photos. This week, Google joined the already crowded field by introducing Keep, a service that is clearly inspired by its rivals. Google's effort is inevitably a serious one, if only because it has such big name behind it and access to hundreds of millions of existing users.

Given the number of note taking services available, figuring out which one is best can be difficult. They all have strengths and weaknesses based on their features, design and compatibility. The differences between services are in the details.

Can you use your voice to create notes instead of having to go to the trouble of typing them? Is an app available on Android devices? How much data can you upload per month without having to pay? In the end, a note taking service that works for one person may not for another. Here's recap of five note-taking services and what they offer.


  @FortuneMagazine - Last updated March 22 2013 11:52 AM ET
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