(Credit: Screenshots: Tom McNamara/Download.com)

A few years ago, Google was having some trouble creating a unified and distinctive look for its Android operating system, so it came up with Material Design. However, the road to completing that unification has had a few obstacles and detours, so a few of the company's apps haven't gotten the refresh treatment until now.

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Today, Google began rolling out version 5.0.411.09 of Keep Notes (formerly known as just "Keep," which wasn't all that descriptive), and with it finally came the Material Design that's recently been gracing its other core apps like Contacts and Clock.

In case you're not familiar with Keep Notes (Android, iOS), it's a cloud-based scratchpad where you can store a shopping list, reminders, ideas, sketches, and other such bits and pieces. And it's not just text. You can also dictate notes by tapping the microphone icon, or add photos from your camera or image library.

There's also a search function, which before was identified by a magnifying glass icon. With the Material Design update, you now get a full search box labeled "Search your notes," which should help people locate this function more easily. In fact, each time you open the app, you will even see an animation in the search box with the name of the app and the distinctive floating multi-colored dots of the Google Assistant.

However, tapping the search box will show you nearly the same interface as before, just with updated artwork. For example, the Lists section now shows you a check box, and the Drawings section uses a paintbrush instead of a pen.

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The account switching function has also been moved from the hamburger menu to its own section, which you access by tapping on your profile picture in the upper right.

The new look of Keep Notes retains its bright white background, with no dark theme available like we now get in the new Clock app. But fortunately, we get the more elegant Google Sans typeface, plus cards with rounded corners like you'll now get in Google News and the Chrome browser.


  • Google Keep has finally gotten its long-awaited visual refresh to the Material Design look introduced to Android in 2014, bringing it up to par with Chrome, Contacts, and Clock.
  • Beyond just a nicer look, the app's search function is much more prominent now, which should help users navigate all their lists, reminders, sketches, and voice recordings.

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Tom McNamara is a Senior Editor for CNET's Download.com. He mainly covers Windows, mobile and desktop security, games, Google, streaming services, and social media. Tom was also an editor at Maximum PC and IGN, and his work has appeared on CNET, PC Gamer, MSN.com, and Salon.com. He's also unreasonably proud that he's kept the same phone for more than two years.