Google Notebook Going Away

Google announced that they will stop developing Notebook, a tool I use every day. This is downside to using free-as-in-beer tools. They aren’t planning to shut off the service (right away). And it’s easy enough to export the content. There are alternatives that might take me a while to evaluate. Here’s what I’ve found so far.

You can export each notebook directly to Google Docs. I don’t like the interface. I like to switch quickly between notebooks. I don’t want a heavy MS Word replacement loaded on multiple Firefox tabs. This solution doesn’t work for me. Neither do the tasks functionality in gmail or building something custom with Google Sites. The suggestions given on the Notebook blog indicate that the team doesn’t understand how I use their product.

Zoho has their own Notebook. The interface is radically different, but the overall data architecture is the same. I suspect it would take me a while to move the data over given Zoho’s way of implementing pages. I do like how Zoho let’s you make a page be a spreadsheet instead of free text. In my limited playing around with it, though, I found that opening up directly to a saved notebook showed me a twirling progress indicator for longer than I cared to wait.

Evernote offers a Web interface as well as a Windows executable (that I don’t care about). They show one, small screenshot of the Web interface, which looks overly graphical. The big fail for me, though is that after getting through the annoying captcha, I had to wait for an email with a confirmation code. It didn’t come right away, so I moved on.

I won’t bother to look at Microsoft One Note. I assume it won’t work well on Ubuntu. I might go back to writing notes as email drafts. I can’t find an open source project that duplicates Google Notebook, so I might write something myself.

7 replies on “Google Notebook Going Away”

I never got used to google notebook. I use the firefox scrapbook extension (thought, it doesn’t have the ability to share my stuff between computers) and until I can find something better or host my own server for this type of thing — I’m using FoxMarks for the bookmarks that absolutely need to be shared.

I feel your pain Leon. I’ve slowly started to transition to Google Docs though it feels more cumbersome. Evernote is actually pretty cool, their Mac client is very pretty but I’m don’t like their web interface as much.

So far, the thing working best for me is the “tasks” functionality in GMail labs. For longer-form notes, I’m going to have to use something else, though.

Whoa, thanks for posting this. You know I was crazy about that but I started neglecting my Google Notebook after I became obsessed with Basecamp. I’m porting everything out.

— Mark

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