When Google announced Keep last week, one of the coolest features we learned about is the ability to accept the "note to self" command that has been part of Google's Voice Actions since the Froyo days. Previously, this would send an email to your own account with the transcribed text and the original audio file. Keep allowed users to send that data to a proper note-taking app instead. Well, as it turns out, Catch wants in on that voice action, so in a recent update, it's added the ability as well.

2013-03-26 11.06.25 2013-03-26 11.23.33 2013-03-26 11.07.53

You know that scene in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? where, after roughly a forever of being handcuffed to Bob Hoskins, Roger casually and without a word slips his hands out of the handcuffs while Bob is attempting to saw them off? To which Bob asks "You mean to tell me you could've taken your hand outta that cuff at any time?!" Roger replies, "No, not at any time. Only when it was funny." That's kinda how I'm feeling about this new update.

On the one hand, this is fantastic. The 'note to self' command was always one of those things that seemed like a fantastic idea, but had limited usefulness for anyone who uses proper note-taking apps. On the other hand, if Catch, Springpad, Evernote and the like could've hooked into this Intent before, the last several years feel like a complete waste of time. That being said, there's no real indication that this was possible before, and Catch is probably using something undocumented to accomplish this. Still, now that it's been done, it would not be surprising to see the other note-taking apps add this ability, if they're smart. This also makes us wonder about the ability of other apps to hook into voice actions. The closest thing beside this command is the ability to use the "listen to" action with other apps, as seen in the far-right screenshot above. But no default selections there.

It's also worth noting that I was unable to get this to work on my Nexus 10, where I had already set Keep to the default, even after clearing them. It worked fine on the Galaxy Nexus, however, where I had not done so. It's unclear whether the two are related or if there's a different bug preventing the option from appearing when using the note to self command, but your mileage may vary.

Update: Some users reported and we confirmed, Evernote does this too! It's unclear when this was added. The last update to Evernote was the major revision to version 5.0 yesterday, so it may have been then. In any case, this is great news. So, Springpad, where you at?

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • http://kylepetz.com Kyle Petzinger

    Well with this news, maybe it's possible to have the "set timer for xx" voice action to be properly tied into an actual time, even if it has to be a third party timer app solution.

    • faceless128

      seriously. when i want a timer for 2 minutes, i don't mean 3 minutes or 1 minute.

  • tony

    Tried this option with Keep last night, and evernote popped up as an option to store the note as well as Gmail and Keep.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

      You're right! Updated the post. Awesome!

    • phanmo

      This won't work for me, not with Keep nor with Evernote or Notif Pro...
      I've tried "Note to self this is a test" and "Note to self", wait for prompt, then "This is a test".
      It shows a progress bar with "Save note", when it's full Now exits and there is no note anywhere. Same thing if I click the "Save note" text.
      I'm using Google Search version
      Any suggestions?

      • J.J. Valenzuela

        Do you have gmail installed? Mine wouldn't complete the command if Gmail was installed and NOT disabled. very upsetting because I don't use gmail the app.

  • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

    Nice. That's intriguing. I've been using Catch for years now, and love it, but Keep was nice for its even simpler nature AND this voice command. I might stick with Catch over this, now, though.

    • BetterWithRoot

      Catch was the first message app I had on my phone. I love the app. I have Keep, but I still have yet to use it.

    • patapongirl

      Same here. I started using Catch when it was called 3banana and I still love it for its simplicity without compromising on functions.

      It will take a while before I start to actually use Keep.

  • Greyhame

    +10 for the Roger Rabbit reference.

  • PCSievers

    I had Keep set up as my default app for voice action notes on my Note 2 and it wont clear that association the same as your N10.

    Also fwiw if Evernote makes a widget as good as Keep that displays a single notebook in a scrollable format (even if it is horizontal like the current widget) I would likely use them for all my note-taking. Its all about the widget at this point in the game imo.

    • phanmo

      That's the main reason I haven't totally committed to Evernote.

  • http://towo.eu towo

    I'm assuming that nobody knew this was actually a intent that was broadcast with only Gmail playing the role of receiver. After Keep did it, everyone else knew it was an intent, rushed ahead and decompiled the Keep APK and just looked up what intent they're catching to copy it.

    (In essence: it's undocumented but not at all hacky.)

    • http://www.facebook.com/archercc Ryan Stewart

      I suspect this is it. Google had the API but didnt care to let everyone know they had published it.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      This is exactly it. Once Keep did it, everyone else knew they could very easily jump on board.

  • Magneira

    Hope to see this expanded to other apps and actions!

  • Tj Hariharan

    really? I was never under the impression it was impossible, I mean I know the "listen to" could be hooked on to, no reason the others couldn't...even before google now

  • Guest

    A similar thing works for music. If I say 'Listen to Radiohead', then I get to choose between Play Music, Pandora, Rdio and Tunein Radio (and probably Spotify as well, if I had that installed).

  • Josh Brown

    I pointed out that it was possible right after Keep started doing it. For that matter, just about anything that Voice Actions does can be intercepted (except search).


  • dobbsy

    In Catch you don't to say "Note to self", you can say "Remember to..."

  • http://twitter.com/RvLeshrac RvLeshrac

    On Android, if you're the first (only) app to catch an event, you're automatically the default.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Yes, but once more than one app registers for the same Intent, the default dialog pops up. I'm not sure what specifically you're referencing here, I'm assuming the Nexus 10 situation, but I don't know how your comment is relevant. Eric has Gmail and Keep there, and adding Catch should have reset the default, but that wasn't the problem it seems - even clearing defaults didn't help.

      • J.J. Valenzuela

        It seems that Gmail as to be installed for this to work, and Not disabled. otherwise, it won't complete the command even if Keep or other apps will take the intent. Can you verify this? I never had gmail installed because i use another email app and Note to Self never worked. I installed gmail and suddenly , Note to Self gives me all the options I would expect.

  • http://twitter.com/NotifApp Notif for Android

    Notif Pro has been updated to support this as well!

  • ddpacino

    +1 Trillion for the Roger Rabbit reference! Still got that on VHS lol.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kaydashplus Ade Adeleye

    How do you perform this "note to self" action?