Cursive is an interesting surprise from Google – a writing and notes app developed directly by? the tech giant set to complement HP’s new Chromebook X2 11. It’s first launched on this new device and then later this year as a Progressive Web Application (PWA) on other Chromebooks. At first glance, it looks a lot like a competitor to Microsoft’s OneNote, and it lets you write and organize notes in “notebooks.” It’s not the first app of its kind, but it’s the first web app of its kind to use low latency pen input for high productivity.
When launching Cursive, users will see what you see below – giving or taking an illustrated hand holding a fake pen – a “New Note” button at the top of the app followed by a row of created “notebooks” by the user that feature a handpicked cover, title and paper type. As with Google Keep, you can choose between grid, blank or dot paper (for all my bullet journal enthusiasts!).
Right below all of your notes will appear, sorted, of course, by the most recent ones. Just tap a note to launch it, so you can start making edits using the app’s many annotation tools that occupy the top row. A pen, highlighter, marker, color selection, eraser, etc.
finger pen tips. There is also an insert picture tool, redo and undo buttons, and a selection tool. More importantly, a search feature exists on the home screen so you can quickly locate the notes – yes, it allows you to search for handwritten notes. This in itself is incredibly cool. Keep can do it too, with varying degrees of success.
Cursive’s real selling point, however, is its ability to use Google’s handwriting recognition superpowers that already exist in Chrome OS and Android. Scribbling over a batch of text will erase it, circling things lets you reposition them, and drawing a line creates a kind of page break and gives you more room to write without manually scrolling. Add to all that automatic cloud backup, and it’s easy to see why Cursive is compelling and truly the missing link when it comes to entering data for personal and business use.
It’s rare to see Google create a whole new app for a single use case, but it’s clear the company designed it for the future of devices using a modern USI pen input. He seems to believe that HP has a product convincing enough with the new X2 11 to warrant launching Cursive on it, and that’s exciting for me as a productivity freak. My only hope is that the many Chrome OS development indicators built around removing palm and handwriting will help the operating system look like something as clean and usable as an iPad and a Apple Pencil.
The only missed opportunity, as pointed out by our friend John Sowash, with whom I am inclined to agree on this point, is that Google did not integrate Cursive into Keep, or did not take advantage of this opportunity. to completely revamp the old note-taking service to include improved notebooks and handwriting tools. Keep is capable of so many things already, but he certainly has his limits. Cursive even uses the same tool icons as Keep, so maybe one day they’ll combine their efforts, but this PWA is clearly aimed at providing a fresh, focused note-taking experience for Chromebook users.
I can’t wait to get my hands on it and try it out. I tried looking for a PWA URL to jump straight to it, but it comes preinstalled on the Chromebook X2 11, so Google seems to have found a way to hide it for now. Are you a note taker or are you the manual entry type? Depending on your style, you might prefer Keep or Google Docs over Cursive when it fully launches, but I’m definitely looking for a new journaling app to keep all of my thoughts in hand!