Ugh, I can't stand it any more. Catch works nicely for me. Why must I keep reviewing Android notepad apps?

Because maybe something will be even better. Maybe something will be as good as Catch, but sync with Google. Maybe something will be so awesome it'll erase the horrible stain that is Evernote from my mind.

Could it be GooMemo?

The only way to find out is to get my review on!

  • Text Entry: Good.

    GooMemo uses the standard Android text-entry field to create its notes. That means it has the long-entry bug. What else is new?

    Text entry comes up quickly, without waiting for synchronization or anything of the like. It's simple, no-frills stuff.

  • Data Synchronization: Poor.

    GooMemo uses an odd synchronization scheme: it saves all the notes as a Google Docs spreadsheet. Unfortunately, editing long notes in a single cell of a GDocs spreadsheet isn't a very user-friendly operation; better hope you never have to edit a note anywhere other than GooMemo.

    Synchronization is very manual. You have to select "Data Exchange" from the menu, then tap the "GDocs" tab, then the "Synchronize with GDocs!" button. If you didn't tell the program your password, you must enter it (another problem; some kind of indirect authorization would be much preferable).

    But off-device editing is the big problem. To modify a note, you must first modify the cell containing the note, then manually clear the cell containing the modification timestamp. In long notes, the timestamp is aligned to the bottom of the cell, so it might not even be visible. This step could be easily overlooked, both from interface and user head space errors, leading to synchronization problems.

    What kind of problems? Server error problems. That's right; I made concurrent changes to a note online and in GooMemo, and suddenly I couldn't load the online version of the spreadsheet any more. Luckily, a second sync fixed the problem. I wound up with two versions of the conflicted note.

    Unfortunately, it hadn't downloaded my new note at the same time, nor backed up its new data. And the conflicted note only showed up online, not in GooMemo. At best, that makes synchronization unreliable.

  • Search Integration: Fail!

    There is no search integration. The only way to find notes is through GooMemo's own Find button. This alone disqualifies it from being any useful sort of PIM app.

  • Import/Export: Poor.

    At least GooMemo actually does have import/export capabilities. They're right there under "Data Exchange".

    Unfortunately, the data format is weak. Notes are separated by exactly three dashes. So if you've been using three dashes as a separator, like I have, then you get more notes when you import than you had when you exported.

    There's no escaping, either. That's just the way it is. The only way to import from Palm is to sync with GDocs to create a GooMemo spreadsheet; create a similar Palm memo spreadsheet; then copy the cells from the Palm spreadsheet to the GooMemo spreadsheet. When you sync again, all your Palm notes will be transferred to GooMemo.

    You can even keep your categories, since you'd just need to create separate sheets for each category. But all in all, how much of a pain is that? All because somebody couldn't stick to established formats, like CSV. Sheesh.

  • Data Hierarchy: Good.

    GooMemo uses tags for its data hierarchy. Only one tag is available per note. This is a limitation of the spreadsheet format chosen for GDocs sync; I can imagine ways to get multiple tags in a spreadsheet, but GooMemo's sheet-per-tag choice limits you to a single tag.

    Working with the tags is not intuitive. You add tags from the settings menu. There you can also set colors for the tags; tagged notes show up in their tag color in the main list, which is a nice touch. Tag names are truncated without any warning when they are created.

    To change the tag on a note, you edit the note, then scroll up to reveal a tag bar. Scroll to the tag you want and add it to the note.

    You might think all this trouble would help prevent tag proliferation, and it does. It's still too easy to enter a new tag that's only one character off from an existing tag, but you're less likely to try because you'll find it in the tag bar. But the bar isn't really useful when you have a lot of tags, and there's no "start typing and we'll filter the tag bar" like there is in Catch.

  • Data Integration: Fail!

    GooMemo does not convert phone numbers, web URLs, or even my programmer-formatted dates into anything usable. There's no data integration at all, so far as I can tell.

  • App Integration: Poor.

    After finding no data integration, I certainly wasn't expecting any app integration. And I wasn't surprised.

    There are no calendars, task lists, or other apps that interoperate with GooMemo.

GooMemo syncs with Google Docs, which I like, and it's fast and lightweight. It's not graphically impressive, but I don't need that. It does allow you to attach pictures to your notes, but I don't need that, either.

Unfortunately, GooMemo fails in too many ways for me to consider it for my PIM requirements. And the problems aren't just in little things, they're in big functionality.

Despite its initial promise, I have to rate GooMemo as Fail.