Google Notebook Released

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I downloaded the Google Notebook browser extension about twenty minutes ago, and have been trying it out.

In case you didn’t hear about Google Notebook yet, it’s a new tool from Google announced last week during the Google Press Day, but not planned to be released until this week.

The idea behind it is that you can use it to take notes about web pages , and copy snippets from those pages, and keep them in notebooks, which you can keep private, or make accessible to the public. A link to the page where you found the material makes it easy to return to the source of the information.

Notebooks can be organized into sections, and can contain images as well as text. The program can be accessed from more than one computer, which means that the information contained within it is stored by Google rather than on your own computer.

I really like the way that the mini notebook, and the full page notebook work together. As a tool for tracking information on the web, it’s pretty useful. I could see some value in using it as a work tool when looking at a site, and considering rewriting content on the pages of that site. Or in writing notes for a blog post, or article or paper.

One of the features that isn’t working yet is the ability to search other public notebooks. The message that I received is that “Search will be available in a few days .”

The mini notebook takes up some space in the bottom left of your browser screen, but can be minimized to rest atop of the progress bar at the bottom of your screen.

The autofill feature from the Google toolbar doesn’t work with the form on the mini notebook login.

Switching to full view of the notebook opens up a new browser window in Internet Explorer.

The (no longer accessible) Google Notebook Overview page showed screenshots from the mini notebook and the full page notebook.

I’m finding myself liking this program, but wishing for a standalone version that hosts the information on my own pages, and doesn’t share it with Google or the world.

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16 thoughts on “Google Notebook Released”

  1. Hi Bill, I tried it this morning as well but I don’t see the “mini Notebook” option you’re talking about.
    I really like it too, people will realize how handy it is when they’ll be travelling 😉

  2. Bill, this page is not working for me : http: //www. Google%20Notebook%20Overview

    Nice review, I’ll have to check it out.


  3. Thank’s Loren and Nadir. I’ve fixed the link to the overview page.

    The “mini” notbook is the small version that sits in the bottom right corner of your screen, as shown in the overview page.

  4. 10 Facts why you should use Clipmarks instead of GNote

    Have you ever tried Clipmarks?
    If you thought that the GNotes concept sounds nice, Clipmarks is the one you should use!

    Let’s compare GNote to Clipmarks:

    Here is what I see that Google’s new product does:

    1) Creates a bookmark to the page that you were on when you did the notebook thing.

    2) Takes whatever text you had highlighted at the time and makes that sorf of “your notes” about that page that is now bookmarked in their system.

    3) Allows you then to go in and edit those notes to add your own text, or whatever. With a little html-like editor.

    4) Allows you then to go in and look at all your notebook items in the typical Google ugly fashion.

    5) No Tagging

    6) No Community

    Meanwhile, the Clipmarks featureset is completely different:

    1) Allows you to clip many pieces from one site or page, or several sites or pages and make them together into ONE NEW PAGE.

    2) Allows you to tag these entries for later search retrieval, sharing, networking, etc. Tagclouds help you to find interesting tags easily.

    3) Allows you to then quickly and easily send those clippings into a set of “bookmarking” sites like Delicious, etc.

    4) Provides an absolutely beautiful, fast, fabulous in every way UI to go and look at your clippings, search them, etc.

    5) Provides a great commenting and popping system to foster actual social interaction around your clippings.

    6) Provides a way to subscribe to an RSS feed for a tag or a person.

    7) Provides a way to make Clips public or private.

    8) Lets you subscribe to other Clipmarkers (“Follow”), to have a quick access to their Clipmarks.

    9) Provides a print function that really rocks and let you print out pages which originaly can’t be printed well because of design errors. Due to the fact that you can clip content from different or multiple pages in one Clipmark, printing was never been easier.

    10) All of this is completely integrated into your browser.

    Go to and test it! You will love it!

  5. @Funana : I completely differ from you.

    Google notebook name suggests that it’s for keeping sort of a diary and you can organize things required by *YOU* and not the world. is nothing but just enhanced version of It just allows users to put their photos and communities blah blah… With fashionable (and lousy) UI. Google has kept it simple and it has almost all features to be a notebook.

  6. @Nishit: Very interesting point of view!
    Imho Clipmarks is much more than just enhanced Keeping a sort of diary and organize things privately is also possible with Clipmarks.

  7. Thanks Funana and Nishit. It’s good to get a couple of different perspectives on a program.

    I was pretty amazed that notebook was as similar as it is to a program like surfulator, which isn’t free, but has some features that Notebook doesn’t.

    I have notebook installed, but really haven’t used it beyond my initial testing. I’ll probably give clipmarks a try, to compare the two. These do seem like programs that are useful.

  8. Thanks for the head’s up. 🙂

    It’s a little bit of a surprise that the notebook results are showing up in Google’s index. It’s probably worth experimenting with to see how they may fit in within the index. Can’t imagine that they would have much pagerank on their own, or pass along much either. But who knows.

  9. Google Notebook public search feature is working now. According to a wmw post, Google Notebook pages are also showing up in Google’s index.

    Too bad Google has to index my notebook before it shows up in the public notebook search. It would be cool if I could see the most recent notes saved on any topic.

  10. i second funana. clipmarks is my archiving tool of choice. plus, the public forum is quite addicting. clipmarks kills delicious and its new copycat… google notebook.

  11. I really like it, so far. It does what it says it does, and all the features are useful. I for one do not need or want another community driven site like del.ic.ious

  12. The nice thing about having so many different choices of tools to use is that it gives us a rich variety. works fine for me as a community tagging site, as does CiteULike. The thing I do like about Google Notebook is probably its simplicity. Then again, I’m more likely to use it as a tool to help me track stuff, then as a place to share stuff with others.

  13. I know I’m posting this a couple years later…but Fuana mentioned that Google Notebook doesn’t have some traits that it does in fact have – for instance, tagging. Google Notebook does having tagging. (Maybe that’s new since 2006?)

    You can also put everything under one note to make a single page.

    So the only thing that is really different is the social bookmarking aspect…which, if it’ll help make bookmarking faster I might take a look at it…(Kinda sick of the social bookmarking thing myself.)

    I just started using Google Notebook and love it’s simplicity. It’s great for collecting snippets from
    SEObythesea for articles! lol…

    Anyhow, just wanted to stand up for Google Notebook a little bit!

  14. Hi fivekitten,

    There have been some upgrades and some added features to Google Notebook.

    I haven’t done too much with it since I wrote this post – it might be time for another look. Thanks.

  15. Google Notebook is in a coma.
    Here is the blog post from the Google Notebook blog.
    I’m sorry to see it go, especially since it was the easiest way at my school (restricted access to websites narrows a lot of choices when it comes to selecting a service) to show students how to use this sort of service for their research.
    I’m using Google Notebook now to gather information on a replacement. Should that be an ethical dilema? 🙂

  16. Hi Bruce,

    It is sad to see that Google has decided to stop future development on Google Notebooks. There are presently 570 comments on that post, many of which share your sentiment about seeing the discontinuation of development.

    They do mention that there are features in SearchWiki, Google Docs, Tasks in Gmail, and Google Bookmarks that provide some of the functionality of Google Notebooks. I don’t see them being adequate replacements for what you can do with Notebooks.

    I don’t see your search for a replacement being an ethical dilema – instead it’s a measured and reasonable response to a finding a replacement for a tool that you enjoyed using. 🙂

    I’ve had to stop using a few online tools that I enjoyed because they changed in ways that made them less useful or because they became unavailable. I hope you find something else that you like as much.

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