The Other Side of Autosave

I started using Google Keep a few months ago.  Google Keep is essentially a note taking app that can record notes, messages, reminders, checklists, etc. in a variety of methods.  It’s also flexible enough to handle photos and other types of data imports.  It integrates with other Google apps (Drive, calendar, etc.), which I also use, and across devices.  I thought it would be pretty amazing, but the organization methods are a bit too basic for my needs.  And then I got burned by Google Keep last week.

I was using Google Keep to record a unique 25-character passcode on a note with similar types of information.  I realized I didn’t need the passcode and deleted it.  The delete key went too fast and wiped out 95% of my note in about 2-3 seconds.  Then I saw Google Keep autosave the “changes” with no option to reject, unsave, undo, or restore a previous version.  The irony of The Deletist being out deleted by an app named Keep!

The whole experience made me keenly aware of how different my smartphone keyboard is from a laptop, or desktop, one.  Had I been using Google Keep from my laptop, I could have easily undone the accidental deletions with ctrl+Z, or by right-clicking the mouse.   Or I might have been able to restore the document from an earlier auto-saved version.

And then I started to feel really irritated by the instant auto-save feature.  I’ve definitely lost work when it wasn’t saved and something happened to the computer or network.  But to me the solution was never to autosave every keystroke.  I like having the document temporarily autosaved in the background for restoration purposes, but only if it doesn’t cause the app to slow down.  But I also prefer to consciously decide when I want to save, or not save, changes.  Why can’t Google Keep have an option for me to choose when I want to save something?  Why can’t I have the option of closing the document without saving changes?

As for the note… I did a few Google searches and found similar stories.  A couple people had accidentally replaced their notes with a single letter while trying to copy and paste them.  I still haven’t found a way to restore the information, other than by recreating it.  Fortunately only 2 things got deleted and I can replace them with minimal effort.

4 comments for “The Other Side of Autosave

  1. Anonymous
    14 March 2017 at 08:52

    Would a back up G drive have helped? I have one on my laptop computer and by using time machine I think I can find earlier versions of docs.

  2. James
    15 March 2017 at 12:54

    You should write Google and tell them about your experience. Also put in suggestions of what features that would make google keep better. Though I haven’t had your experience, I have had my own mishaps with Google keep. I started using Google Keep at work and on my Android phone. I’m a big fan of google products but i’m the first to say when the google app is limited. And Google Keep isn’t doing it for me. I am totally a Mac guy now but I’m big on cross platform Products. And I like some of the apps to have a web presence. As I was saying, I used Google keep at work to copy links or notes or anything that I found useful throughout the day. I forgot what it was trying to do, but I was trying to do something with one of the Google Keep notes and I couldn’t do it. Also i did find Google Keep limited. I wanted a notes app that acted like a word processing program and as many of those features as possible. I found the app it’s called Notability. I now have notability on my Mac iPhone and iPad. The only draw back is it doesn’t have the Web capability I like. But it does everything else I wanted. I do have to say Evernote is pretty good but i don’t want to pay a subscription for it. There are programs that will give you the flexibility and features you want. And many are cross platform also, you just have to look. Good luck.


    • The Deletist
      18 March 2017 at 15:30

      Hi James,
      Great insights! I feel very similar to you. I’m also a huge fan of Google, but a Mac user with a strong preference for cross platform products. We should start our own business! Anyway, I know exactly what you mean about the other limitations of Google Keep. It is frustrating that the word processing capabilities are so limited. I also find the Keep notes hard to organize.
      I used to use Notability. I can’t remember why I stopped now, but I really enjoyed it. I also tried Evernote, but never officially “moved” in. *Sigh* Even with so many options, it’s so hard to find one product that I can customize to my own specific needs.

  3. phx
    29 June 2019 at 02:49

    The same thing happened to me. I was copying a composition that I felt proud of and accidentally hit the letter Q instead and all hope was lost. I can’t write that again. I hope Google can come up of a way to restore older versions. I’d really like to have that poem back.

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