Google Keep: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Article by Jimmy Matthews III

In case you missed the furor over the past few days, Google has introduced a new note-taking product called Google Keep. This product was teased on March 18th when the web site drive.google.com/keep accidentally went live. A few tech bloggers and journalists dove-in and gathered an immense number of screenshots and gave their thoughts about Keep before Google suddenly pulled the plug on the mysterious new service mere hours after it had gone live.

In this article, we’ll cover what exactly Keep can do, as well as where it succeeds and where it fails. Finally, we’ll cover the big question that is on everyone’s mind: Why would I use Keep instead of a well-established service like Evernote?

What is Keep, and What Does it Do?

As mentioned, Keep is a note-taking service that Google has released publicly (http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2013/03/google-keepsave-whats-on-your-mind.html) as of March 20th. Some intrepid readers may be thinking, “didn’t Google already have a note-taking service that was killed off a few years ago?” This is completely accurate, and the company did in fact-kill off their Google Notebook service in the middle of last year (http://www.google.com/googlenotebook/faq.html); however unlike the recent shut-down of Google Reader, the Big G provided their users with a concrete transition plan, which included automatically migrating the Notebook data into Google Docs (now known as Google Drive).

Keep appears to have picked up exactly where Notebook left-off, albeit with a much cleaner web interface, and a similarly clean-looking Android app, which makes syncing your notes across multiple devices a breeze. The interface allows users to create flat text notes, ordered lists and image-based notes–all of which can be color-coded, archived and searched with ease. Beyond those features, Keep has nothing else to offer. Despite the misleading URL for Keep, it’s not currently integrated into Google Drive, though this has been promised as happening “in the coming weeks”. It should not be a stretch of the imagination to take this as meaning that “My Drive” will feature a sidebar link that will allow the user to access Keep without leaving the Drive interface. It also wouldn’t be a surprise if this comes coupled with a minor UI refresh for Drive to give it a cleaner interface similar to Keep.

Where Keep Succeeds

At this point, Keep features a very minimalist interface, which does not get in the user’s way. Instead, the user is able to focus on the task at hand, which is taking notes, and making lists. In this area, Keep is a clear note-taking power house. The minimal interface helps make using the service a very efficient task, and this also carries over to the Android app. Simplicity is key, and the fluid performance can not be overstated when it comes to getting things done.

Power users will be able to appreciate the fact that Keep does feature a fairly decent set of keyboard shortcuts for navigating around the web interface and allowing them to quickly edit and create notes. Sadly, there are a lot of issues related to these shortcuts, which we’ll detail in the next section. At the very least, the starting set of keyboard shortcuts is more fleshed-out than even those available today for Google+.

Where Keep Fails

Consistency: Why does it seem like every time a new Google product is unveiled, their mission of providing “a clean consistent interface” gets trashed? This usually gets rectified within a reasonable amount of time, but it’s a frustrating experience for the early adopters of their products that forces them to adapt as the “beta first” products mature. The UI of Keep is simply not consistent with the rest of their flagship services like Gmail, Calendar or Drive, and until this happens, there is going to be a usability delay when users switch between those essential services.

Keyboard shortcuts: The previous section mentioned that the keyboard shortcuts were a successful element to Keep, but there seems to be a plethora of issues with these shortcuts. First and foremost, there are missing functions that require the user to switch over and use the mouse. If there is any action that requires the usage of a mouse to interact with a product, then the keyboard shortcuts almost immediately lose their value. This is harsh, but true. For an example of all-inclusive keyboard shortcuts, look no further than Google Reader. There was not a single action that required the use of a mouse, and that was the primary reason that Reader was considered a “power user” tool. It enabled the consumption of content to be done at a rapid pace, to which there is no comparison. There are so many bugs when it comes to keyboard shortcuts in Keep that they need their own post to fully detail all of them. In the interest of time, those will not be included here.

Multiple Views: There are two ways to view the content in Keep: List view and Grid view. When switching to Grid view, a glaring defect is immediately obvious to the user: “what happened to the lists?” Suddenly, all “list” elements are collapsed into a flat text-based note. Each item within the list is included on a line with empty line-breaks between each one. The only way to intuitively identify a list is if there are already items that had been checked-off as completed, which appear as text formatted with “strike-through” style. One major disadvantage here is usability. There is no way to interact with a list while in grid view. The user is forced to change to list view in order to modify the check box that indicates an item has been completed. This is a stunning usability failure.

To further the frustration for using Grid view, all of the keyboard shortcuts related to creating new notes places the user back in List view, and there is no way to organize the notes from the web. In the Android version of Keep, the user is able to drag-and-drop the notes to reorder them, almost as a way of prioritizing the current items. This functionality is completely lost when using the web, and again: this is a complete and utter failure in usability.

Trash: Why is there no trash? Surely this service is intended to have consistency with Gmail on some level. The keyboard shortcuts for Archiving or Deleting notes are the same across both, and just like Gmail, you have the fleeting option to “Undo” either of these actions. Occasionally (and no thanks to the buggy keyboard shortcuts), an item can be accidentally deleted by the user. If the “Undo” link is not immediately selected to save the note from certain death, there is no safety net. The note is simply gone forever, and cast off to the bowels of Google’s servers.

Lists: This goes back to the failure to provide a consistent experience across products on Google’s part. Their Tasks product, which could be considered a subset of Gmail, has an excellent mechanism for creating ordered lists. You can nest lists and set reminders and calendar entries based on the content of individual items in your lists. None of these features carry over to Keep, and it’s mind boggling. This also opens the question as to what the future holds for Google Tasks. Will it be axed? Can it be merged into Keep? Why do they both exist right now, but with divergent usability and features? There are a few other nagging issues on lists like empty list items being entirely too easy to create, which don’t get automatically cleaned as well as the final item in every list being a non-removable empty check box, but those are less atrocious offenses than the ones that get in the way of being productive.

Is Keep Ready to Replace Evernote?

No. Not in any way. At this point in time, there are way too many features that are missing from Keep that will keep away long-time Evernote users. Chief among those missing features would be tagging, nesting/grouping of notes and the built-in OCR (optical character recognition) that allows a user to search and categorize images or PDFs that have been uploaded into their collection of notes. Another glaring omission is a web app. While Evernote has an extension/webapp called Webclipper–which makes saving webpages and articles to notebooks a snap–Keep has no such thing. Users are forced to bookmark the web page or use the Android app with no other alternatives.

Additionally, there is quite a bit of mystery over why Keep was released on a nondescript Wednesday in the middle of March. In the week prior to Keep’s unintentional leak and then subsequent unveiling by Google, their power consumption service Google Reader had been killed off. This caused a tremendous uproar all across the internet with a very vocal user base screaming about how they had been done a great disservice and that Google could no longer be trusted. It is impossible to rule-out the possibility that Google wanted to give the internet something else to talk about to try and quell the fury caused by announcing an upcoming shutdown of such a tremendously awesome service.

This is especially curious because of the unfinished nature of Keep. The “Google bar” that runs across the top of the Google ecosystem was introduced as a way of unifying the various Google products and tying everything together with a clean, consistent interface. But if that were the case, why does Keep have an old and outdated version of the Google bar? In fact, some might might even see it as spiteful that the “More” drop-down that can be found on Keep’s Google bar not only hides away Calendar and Drive (two essential services), but it still includes a link to Reader. Ouch. What happened here?

The outdated Google bar, coupled with the various bugs and interface quirks, not to mention the number of times that the service appeared to have crashed shortly after the big reveal tend to suggest that Google wanted to rush this product out before it was good and ready. While that may be true, there is no doubt that Keep has a long way to go. If Google wants this to be a serious contender to replace note-taking services like Evernote or task lists like any.do or their own Tasks service, then they have a steep climb in front of them. We can only hope that Google spends the time and resources necessary to build upon the promising base that they’ve established with the release of Google Keep.…

Central Pacific Bank Secured Credit Card

Residents of Hawaii are often looking for bank options.  Some will actively seek a Central Pacific Bank secured credit card.  Central Pacific Bank is one of the largest financial institutions in the United States and it’s headquarters are in Hawaii.  There is current a Visa secured credit card option from this bank but remember there are other credit card opportunities as well. It might be smart to look up several different secured and unsecured credit cards before making a final decision in 2013 and beyond.

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Secured Credit Cards Help Build a Strong Credit History

There are some borrowers of money who have made very poor financial decisions in the recent past which makes it very hard to get ahead when it comes to finances.  These individuals may need to seek out unique borrowing opportunities as normal unsecured credit cards have not solved any problems.  In fact, it is often the case that bad credit borrowers end up abusing unsecured credit cards because they have a line of credit that is money they have yet to earn.  Enter secured credit cards.

A secured credit card acts in the same was as an unsecured credit card but borrowers must put down collateral or a “down payment” before spending any money on the card.  This deposit is usually sent through a cashiers check or money order.  If that particular borrower is a customer of the bank they can use money in a bank account or checking account.  Each financial institution has different requirements when it comes to the amount of money that can be put down.  Some banks limit this amount to $1000 or $2000 while other banks increase the limit to $5000 or $10,000.

Central Pacific Bank Secured Credit Card

When looking to apply for the Central Pacific Bank secured credit card always remember to consider every single option before hitting apply now or submitting an application at a bank location.  There are several different credit card options available from Central Pacific Bank so do not feel as if a secured credit card is the only way to build credit and borrow cash.  Here is much more information on the secured credit card for the Central Pacific Bank website:

“Secured Visa® Card

If you need to improve or re-establish your credit history1 , here’s a great way to begin that process. With the Secured Visa Card, you’ll enjoy the convenience of credit including the option to carry a balance while earning interest on your savings account.

BUILD YOUR CREDIT

Provides an excellent opportunity for someone starting a credit history or for someone who has been turned down for a credit card.

Simply open a secured savings account that is pledged as security for your credit card account.

Merchants and retailers won’t know your card is secured when you use it to make purchases.

Cardmember Benefits

Visa credit card also come with a variety of important features, including: extended warranty coverage, free collision damage insurance and zero fraud liability.2 See Consumer Card Features and Benefits for a complete listing of all card benefits.

Special Offers

Receive up to a $5,000 credit limit.

Purchase APR

Variable APR currently 20.99%. See Terms and Conditions for complete details.

Annual Fee

$35 Annual Fee

Minimum Requirements

Applicant must be 18 years of age, have a U.S. address and a Social Security number. A minimum security deposit of $300 is required ($5,000 maximum).”

Note that the variable APR is currently 20.99%. This is a very high interest rate on any amount of money borrowed. Those looking for bad credit installment loans and bad credit unsecured personal loans may find interest rates at more attractive levels.  As most bad credit borrowers know, finding low interest rates on any amount of money borrowed can be quite difficult.  That said, there should be a few bank options in the state of Hawaii.

Bank Alternatives in Hawaii

There are currently nine financial institutions with headquarters in the state of Hawaii with one of these banks being Central Pacific Bank.  Just because a bank is not headquartered in the state of Hawaii it does not mean there are not branches on the islands.  In fact, there are many banks that have headquarters in California and other states that have quite the presence in Hawaii.  Here are some bank alternatives that are headquartered in the state:

  • First Hawaiian Bank
  • Bank of Hawaii
  • Territorial Savings Bank
  • Hawaii National Bank
  • Pacific Rim Bank
  • Ohana Pacific Bank

Also note that those seeking secured credit cards in 2013 and beyond can do plenty of research online. Almost all banks will be willing to let potential customers contact them about a credit card. Unlike a checking account or home loan it is not necessary to be in a local area to take out a credit card. Actually, most credit card applications are done online now.  Even the credit cards that are preapproved ask potential customers to go online and fill out the information.  This makes it easier to apply for a secured credit card in Hawaii.

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Before going through many application steps it might be smart to have all information ready.  Many of these credit card applications do not have a save now and complete later feature.  This is unfortunate, but it is simply the way it is right now.  Do not think that credit card applications are long.  You may be surprised at just how short some of these applications are.  Some of the basic information like name and address as as well as annual income are part of the application.

How to Use a Central Pacific Bank Secured Credit Card

Unlike regular credit cards it is often the case that a secured credit card has a much lower credit limit.  Some borrowers of unsecured credit cards have received limits as high as $15,000 to $25,000.  This is highly unlikely with a Central Pacific Bank secured credit card.  In fact, the maximum amount has been set at $5000.  This is a good thing for many borrowers.  Rather than spending a ton of money that has not been earned it is much smarter to spend money that you actually have.

A secured credit card is basically like an allowance from when you were little.  The amount of money that can be spent on the credit card is the deposit that is given upon signing up.  Basically, if you put $3000 down you will have a $3000 credit limit on that specific secured credit card.  If you max out the card and do not pay off the amount the lender will already have the money so they will be out nothing.  This is completely different than an unsecured credit card.

If an individual has a $10,000 credit limit on an unsecured credit card and they max out the card there is nothing the credit card company can do to get this money.  They can send letters or hurt a credit score but they took a risk when they offered this unsecured debt. I would never suggest anyone do this as it will kill a credit history.  If someone defaults on a $10,000 line of credit it will take a very long time to build a credit score back to a respectable level.  This mean it could take years or even decades to have the opportunity to buy a new car or home.  When making any type of major purchase banks and lenders will look at a credit score and credit history.

After a credit score has been knocked or hit it might take a secured credit card to help rebuild that credit.  Some financial advisors will suggest putting the smallest down payment possible on a secured credit card.  Starting with $500 or $1000 might be a good choice.  Using the Central Pacific Bank secured credit card simply for gas, groceries and drug store purchases will mean the bills will not rack up quickly.  Note that this can be very hard to do for anyone who has used a credit card to make every single purchase in the recent past.

Getting Low Interest Rates on Credit Cards

The only possible way to get extremely low interest rates on a credit card is to prove to be a solid and responsible borrower of money.  Unfortunately, anyone seeking a secured credit card or a bad credit installment loan is probably considered an irresponsible borrower of money.  Paying down all high interest rate debts and keeping balances low on credit cards is a great way to increase the odds of getting low interest rates on personal loans, home loans or credit cards.

It takes more than just this though.  Borrowers will also need to have paid off a car loan, personal loan or even home loan in the last few years to be a truly good borrower of money.  If individuals have student loans they have paid over time this is another good sign that they have been a responsible borrower.  In more words or less, people need to get bills but pay them as quickly as possible.  Sometimes life gets tough and it is very hard to pay these bills but things will eventually turn around and the debts should be addressed as soon as possible.…

Fayetteville NC Banks with Bad Credit Personal Loans

In the state of North Carolina residents will find that there are many options available when it comes to credit unions, local community banks, regional banks and national banks. With Bank of America and Wells Fargo having a huge presence in Charlotte there are opportunities to borrow money. Some will seek out Fayetteville NC banks with bad credit personal loans. Finding access to $500, $1500 or $5000 have gotten a little bit easier as the overall economy has improved since the credit crisis.

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Fayetteville NC Banks with Bad Credit Personal Loans

With Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base being located in Fayetteville, North Carolina it comes as little surprise that there are many banks and financial institutions in the area. These military members need somewhere to house their money. Some of these same individuals will also look to borrow money to pay for a car, truck, motorcycle, van or SUV. Before making any type of major purchase it never hurts to consider financing options.

As stated earlier, there are a ton of well known banks that have a presence in the state of North Carolina. Whether you are looking for options from Regions Bank, SunTrust, BB&T or First Citizens Bank there are branch locations. It is sometimes best to physically go to a branch location to discuss the options that are currently available. If you have improve a credit score to a level above 660 over the past few months or years there is a good chance you could gain access to some very large loan amounts. Here are some options in Fayetteville, NC:

  • Capital Bank
  • Fayetteville Postal Credit Union
  • State Employees Credit Union
  • Bragg Mutual Federal Credit Union

Note that these are not the only banks in the area. It also might not hurt to check out Raleigh NC bad credit loans. Raleigh, North Carolina was the home to RBC Bank before it was bought out by PNC. With a ton of local ties to the banking industry Fayetteville, NC residents are not going to find it difficult to gain access to different banks. The difficulty may be qualifying for a personal loan or a bad credit installment loan.

Low Credit Score Car Installment Loans in Fayetteville

For some reason bad credit score car installment loans are very popular in military towns. It is amazing to see just how many lenders are willing to offer low credit score borrowers money. Remember that some lenders have tightened their practices after the credit crisis but there are still many that will be more than happy to help you come up with $10,000 or $15,000 to make that new car or truck purchase. If you plan on buying a brand new Ford F150 or Chevy Silverado you are going to need to get a very large loan. Some of these newer trucks can cost $40,000.

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Before making this financial commitment it might be best to step back and look at the big picture. If you buy a car or truck that is this expensive you are going to be paying $500 a month over the course of the next five years. If you have no money to put down it is going to make it quite difficult to pay this amount of cash. Although the military offers some great incentives to those who enlist it is still not a wise choice to spend all that money before you even get it in your bank account.

This is something to think about as there are plenty of opportunities to buy used cars in Fayetteville, NC. There is a Craigslist subdomain that has hundreds of used cars listed every single day. By scouring the Craigslist Fayetteville, NC used cars section many potential car buyers will be able to find vehicles as low as $1000. This might be well worth the savings as the rest of that money can go into a checking account that is building interest.

Finding low interest rate loans have become a little bit easier with technology. When searching on Google or any search engine remember to do plenty of homework on a company. Just because that company ranks highly in Google search it does not mean it will be the best company for your needs. Keep this in mind moving forward. Read the fine print and understand what alternatives are available when it comes to online loans or loans at a bank branch location.…