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May 16, 2006

Google Notebook: Noteworthy Indeed

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Google launched Google Notebook early this morning after announcing it to the world during last week’s Google Press Day. After playing around with it for a little bit, I like it more than I thought I would. I admit, I originally wrote this off as another silly Google toy, but this does seem to have several practical uses. It may even be something I could use daily, replacing Clipmarks as my preferred clipping tool.

What makes Notebook rise above Clipmarks is its ability to go beyond a simple Web clipping tool and serve as an actual notebook. I like having a place to store information. I’ll admit, I’m something of a packrat, and my obsession with saving has extended even to my Internet usage.

I run a cluttered ship around here. My desktop is stacked with 15-25 browser windows at any given time, and because I’m a Firefox user, most of those are tabbed five levels deep. However, now that I can ‘note’ things, Google Notebook may allow me to leave my collection of browser windows behind.

What I like (very much) about Google Notebook is how integrated into my browser it is. Once installed, an “Open Notebook” feature at the bottom of my browser gives me instant access to my notebook. Even better, I can instantly clip text (and pictures) just by highlighting it. And if I see that something that interests me on my SERP, I can click the “Note This” link that appears to the right of the URL and immediately save it for the future. Proving that Google is smarter than your average bear -er, engine, it remembers things you’ve noted, and produces a ‘Duly Noted” mention where the “Note This” link used to be.

Duly Noted? Cute, very cute.

Users can create and print multiple notebooks, categorize sections, have sources automatically attributed and designate notebooks as public or private. Noted text and links are saved via Google, not your computer’s hard drive, making them accessible from anywhere. This is ranking very high on my convenience scale.

Google recommends using Notebook to create wish lists, plan vacations (what to see, where to eat, compare flight prices, etc.) or for good old fashioned research. I think I’ll be using it to create a ‘Things I Haven’t Read Yet, But Want To’ list and various “This May Be Important Later” memos.

Because I’m hard to satisfy, I do have a few recommendations. I want a date stamp next to the things I bookmark to further help my obsessive-compulsive nature. I think knowing when I noted things will help keep me organized and serve as an accurate timeline. Also, I’d like a ‘digg it’-esque link to appear on pages for even easier clipping. And maybe even some Gmail/ Google Calendar integration. Other than that, I’m a very happy packrat.

For those interested, Graywolf provides an in-depth look at Google Notebook (with screenshots) over on his site.

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