Google has finally announced its note-taking "Evernote" killer, Google Keep, which looks great and useful from this little video preview, but there is a lingering worry that like other beloved products (ahem: Reader) Google might go ahead and kill this one off someday, too. Asides from their maker, the two services don't have much to do with one another: one is a note-taking service that stores information, while the other is for making it easier to consume media. But with G-Reader's impending death still smarting, RSS fans can't help but think of the time they fell in love with a Google service only for the evil Internet giant to take it away. "You’ll have to excuse me if I don’t rush to embrace Google’s latest, greatest app," writes BetaBeat's Kelly Faircloth. But, it's not just poor timing, Reader's death is a very good reason not sign up for a free Google service: It could very well die one day by virtue of its freeness.
It's kind of a silly fear to have in general: Any beloved service, paid or free, could shut down forever one day, right? But, the death of Reader has suggested the beginning of the end of free things (that don't make money on their own or with advertising). Like Google Drive, Keep has no visible revenue streams. One could imagine Google running ads against Keep notes the same way it does against messages in Gmail. And others have suggested that, with some social feature additions, it might one day work more like Pinterest, which has the not-quite-yet-realized massive potential to make a lucrative connection with the shopping world. But, as of right now, it's just a zero-cost idea storage service. And as we've learned with Reader and Instagram and Facebook and every free software service out there: Free isn't really free. It either finds another uncomfortable way to make money or charges a subscription fee. As of now, Keep does none of that.
But the adventurous types out there not feeling too suspicious of Google's dissolution of a free thing might want to try Keep, which is only available right now on Android and looks like a great way to store digital notes. Gizmodo has already dubbed it "wonderful." Keep alternative, Everynote, by the way, is also free, but provides a "premium" option for $45 per year.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.