The Future Of Google Notebook

I am predicting the following pathway / roadmap / architecture direction that leads to something similar to G-Notebook ... and my "reputation" as a mostly anonymous blogger is on the line (oooh). Foundational elements first:

1. Google Chrome OS. If you haven't heard about it, you've been in hiding or have an actual life. This is G's play to get into the backbone of portable computers (iPhone, netbooks, etc). Throw in Android and you have a cheap, open, system to run any light weight computer. Applications will reside mostly online (the infamous "cloud"). They can build on later for fuller functionality outside of the mobile platform domain.
2. Google Chrome will get "push" synchronization. It will start with Bookmarks (and remember how much Google Bookmarks looked like G-Notebook?). This will compete directly against "X-Marks" for Firefox on the Chrome browser? If it works well, it will be a very nice feature for Chrome users.
3. Google Voice.
4. Google Wave.

Let me go back to 6 months ago, when G removed their toolbar from Chrome. Here are two quotes from that time:

"Removed the option to import bookmarks from Google bookmarks. We think we can improve this feature, so we're pulling it out until we come up with something better"

"Remove 'Google Toolbar' as an option for importing bookmarks. The user experience without the ability to keep bookmarks synchronized is not good. We decided to pull this and work on a better user experience."

My expectation is that G will not only sync bookmarks, but will reinstate a Note-Taking type of application similar to what is embedded in the Opera browser on Chrome. The risk is that they try to merge Notebook and Documents into one application. That is clearly not a good option. The other downside is that this would be tied to the use of Chrome which is not allowed in many corporate locations. This integration with synchronization will continue into their OS.

In summary, I believe this is where the Big G wants to go:

  • Google OS / Android integration on any hardware
  • Google Chrome browser on any hardware (operating more like a virtual desktop)
  • Push synchronization for Bookmarks, Web Notes, G-Account Details, Contacts, Social Networking, Browsing history, Communication History, OS Settings (imagine your desktop being the same on whatever computer you use), communication settings, (using Chromium Sync / Chrome Wave / G-Voice).
  • All voice communications through Google Voice (Over IP) with push synchro, comm. history, "Unified Messaging", and customized rings following you wherever you are logged in or as pre-defined in your Google Voice contact settings
  • Capabilities to take and access notes on web, voice, IM, or any application
  • Primarily cloud based applications (Google Apps) with minimal download (G-Gears) for offline usage
This will mean that as long as you use Chrome, you will have access to all of your online life on any platform (fixed or mobile) either online or offline. The idea would be to leverage existing G-Assets to drive Chrome / G-OS adoption. Huh? Google wants to own all communication and computing.

Google Wave??

So our "friend" G is introducing Google Wave sometime "later this year". Interesting video on their official page here (1 hour and 20 minutes is a bit long for a preview ... but I'll deal with it- barely). There is a briefer product overview here.

They're calling it a "communications and collaboration" product. It's very unclear to me all what it can do and probably won't until it comes out, however, there is a good amount of excitement (and funding) around this product. There is discussion on the still active Official Google Notebook blog as to whether Wave will be a/the replacement to Notebook. Overall, no consensus is appearing about Wave.

But the OVERIDING consensus is and remains:

  1. We want Notebook to continue being developed ... not Docs, Wave, etc.

  2. We want the Notebook extensions

  3. If 1 and 2 are not possible ... we want the code or open source Notebook

  4. Google has significantly injured their reputation and trust amongst it's most loyal users

  5. Google has completely ignored our pleas

Google ??? Any response? Do you really even care about us anymore? Where is the love?

I think I now know what it feels like to be a scorned lover that is slowly becoming a creepy stalker? Weird huh?

Anybody Used "Tomboy"?

Came across what appears to be another "Notebook" replacement called Tomboy. Sounds interesting. Would like someone who has used it to give feedback in the notes.


Open Source Notebook Initiative

Very little happening on the Google Notebook front (unfortunately). It really seems like they've not only dropped the support for this product, but also completely ignored the backlash that their decision has made. I have made reference to driving Google towards GPL'ing the product in order to open source Notebook, but they seem to have no interest in taking this action. Recently, this comment was added to our blog:

hey there.
i saw your comment on the google notebook blog about the notebook app development being stopped.
im trying to mobilise a team/collective to take Notebook to open source.
If you're interested, please email me on misteka at gmail dot com

This is great. I am fully behind this person's initiative and would be more than happy to help. Anyone else?
Is Notebook being integrated into Google Reader? I'm sure tons of us are as addicted to Reader as we were on Notebook so, it seems like it would be a good idea.

A couple readers have commented on seeing a "Notes" section in their Google Reader ... and I also see it (and have for quite a while, but had little interest in playing with it since I had Notebook). Now, I've been messing around with it somewhat, and it is certainly not a complete Google Notebook replacement by any means.

It does allow you to save some Google Reader items into this "Notes" area and add text if you'd like ... or for that matter, you can simply add a text note by itself quite easily.

In addition, you can add a Java script Link in your "favorites" and have a button to click to "add to notes" when browsing other sites. Each note is defaulted to become a "Shared items" which I consider a bad move. However, you can override this default.

I can probably used this Notes function in Reader for some of my prior Notebook functions ... but right now, it's just not a good replacement. I guess the real question is whether this can or will be developed to integrate some of the Notebook functionality??? Thoughts?

Yahoo in the game?

It's been a bit slow around here. Google has given no indication of interest in the uprising they have created amongst their devoted user community.

However, just today, Yahoo! announced the introduction (currently in limited Beta testing) an online "Search Pad", which appears to mimic some of the Notebook functionality.

Once again, I find it interesting that Google is stepping away from a valuable product while Microsoft and Yahoo! are moving towards incorporating similar functionality. This functionality is a part of the future of web browsing.

Video below:

Speculation re: the future of Notebook

Perhaps it is time for some unwarranted, but entertaining (?), speculation regarding the future of Notebook. Follow the logic with me ...

  1. Both Google Notebook and Google Bookmarks share a very similar functionality and potentially the core software code is the same

  2. Google has suggested using Notebook for the Bookmarks functionality

  3. Notebook development has stopped

  4. Bookmarks development may therefore stop

On the Google Chrome Releases blog, there was a note regarding "Bug Fixes and Scrolling Improvements" that mentioned the following change to Chrome:

"Removed the option to import bookmarks from Google bookmarks. We think we can improve this feature, so we're pulling it out until we come up with something better."

Also on the release notes for Chrome, I find this:

"Remove 'Google Toolbar' as an option for importing bookmarks. The user experience without the ability to keep bookmarks synchronized is not good. We decided to pull this and work on a better user experience."

So, this quote informally suggests that either they will scrap bookmarks in it's current form altogether and develop something completely new OR enhance the current product.

The question/speculation is ... will Google develop a new Bookmarks that incorporates Notebook functionality ... and potentially embed it in their Chrome browser with Sync'ing functionality?? The Opera browser has taken the approach of embedding Notes in the browser. Perhaps Google will follow suit??


Zoho Follows Suit

Zoho Notebook now offers a Google Notebook Import option.
Looks like it should be pretty easy with a Firefox Extension.

Evernote Is Hitting On Us Notebook Users

It was only a matter of (short) time. Evernote has come through with a tool to help import your Google Notebooks into Evernote. Since Evernote seems to be the preferred alternatives amongst those of you who have "voted" on my poll, I expect this new import functionality will be heavily utilized. Evernote follows in the footsteps of Ubernote with the creation of an import function (both using Notebook's export to Atom feed function).

While my preference is to see G-Notebook live, I have yet to see any signs of interest from Google. Anyone find anything to suggest otherwise?

Here's Evernote's video of the tool.

Read more about Evernote trying to cozy up with you and give you some love right here: "Welcome You Fine Google Notebook Users"

Raj? Where are you Raj? Bueller? ... Here's a quote from the press release.

"And we're excited about all the new ideas we have for Docs, SearchWiki, Bookmarks and other products."

Bookmarks? Really? THAT bookmarks? The one that appears to be so integrated with and related to Notebook? Sorry Raj. While I used Bookmarks, I have now transferred completely to Foxmarks.

What other shoe will drop (that we care about)? Is Beta-Gmail safe? Can we talk?

Photo by: Thatsjuststeve

The Most Comprehensive List of Google Notebook Alternatives (IN THE WORLD)

Don't get me wrong - Notebook is the best and I want it! But people are going to look for alternatives (at least until we get Notebook back ;)). Not all of these alternatives have all the features of Notebook, so some are a bit of a stretch, but you can decide which might suit your needs. Sorry if I missed anyone's application of choice (feel free to add it in the comments).
So here's THE list of Google Notebook alternatives (in alphabetical order).
  1. BasKet Note Pads- Download required

  2. CintaNotes-Free - Download Required - can run on USB

  3. Clipmarks

  4. Evernote - quite popular

  5. Diigo - Doing development to win Notebook fans - not sure how it will "fit"

  6. KeyNote - Co. went bankrupt ... made product Open Source

  7. MS OneNote 2007 - Stand alone software (not web based or free)

  8. MS Thumbtack - New product - still in "LiveLabs" (Notebook was still in Beta - as is Gmail?)

  9. Net Notes (Firefox Extension only)

  10. Notefish

  11. Opera Browser- Cool idea - Browser with built-in note taking functionality

  12. Scrapbook (Firefox Extension only)

  13. Snipd

  14. Springnote

  15. Springpad

  16. TreePad- recommendation from a reader -can run on USB drive

  17. Ubernote

  18. Web-Chops

  19. Web Notes

  20. Zoho Notebook

  21. Zotero -Firefox Extension Only - Looks good for students

Open Invite To Raj Krishnan - Google Notebook Product Manager

Dear Mr. Krishnan,
Product Manager of Google Notebook,

Please contact me at savenotebook at gmail dot com to share your views on the development stoppage of the Notebook product which you successfully developed into a product which has inspired users to adopt with great enthusiasm.

I believe that users of this product are rational, intelligent people who are not satisfied with the decision or explanation and would like further information to better understand how and if our relationship with Google should be impacted.

Sincerely ...
Moderator of Savenotebook.Blogspot.Com

Google To Re-Evaluate?

I have received some good anonymous feedback to focus our efforts on ways we get Google to re-evaluate their decision to halt stoppage of development on Google Notebook ... versus other potential options. I love the feedback.

Here were the three ideas put forth (I liked' em so much I stole'em verbatim):

  1. Grass-roots efforts with enough publicity to get them to reconsider.

  2. Well-thought-out proposals for integrating Notebook into other Google services like Gmail, Gcal, Gdocs, etc., and somehow getting their execs to see the light.

  3. A polite plea to sanitize the Firefox extension's code of anything proprietary and then open-source it, so it could be integrated with another service.

The other idea that has been floating around is an online petition.

What I find most interesting, is not the number of people who appear to be upset with this decision, but rather the level of intensity, commitment, and excitement users had about Notebook. These are the users every software company fawns over.

A well-publicized grass roots effort may have an impact. I will be giving more thought to how to pull something like this off ... IDEAS are welcome.

Don't Push Me Away Google. I've been so committed to you. I've Trusted You.

UberNote Google Notebook Import

UberNote is the first to come through with a tool designed to import notes from Google Notebook. Good for them. I haven't tried it yet, but look forward to giving it a go.
I'm happy to see these guys working hard to get this done quickly (Congrats ... and sorry about not having the little horizontal ":" over the "u"). Us hardcore Google Notebook users are wanted by someone ... just not Google.

Also ... more crying:

Is Microsoft's Thumbtack the Next Notebook?

So far, the answer is NO. Thank you.

It does sounds good on paper (i.e. LCD screen), but I can tell you there's a reason it's still in MS "Live Labs". No full fledged review (yet), but check it out and judge for yourself.

I'm still fully committed to fighting for the Return Of GNotebook.
Also ... Isn't it interesting how Microsoft has spent resources developing and launching a competing product only to have the leader in the market (at least in my mind Notebook was the leader) fold shop on their product about one month later??
Did Google misunderstand the valuable property they had in Notebook?? YES ... I believe they obviously did ... but it's not too late to fix this problem.

Free Market Responds

Here's a direct response from a Notebook competitor (Diigo) regarding making the switch from Notebook to Diigo. Sounds like they are actively developing their product to win customers.

Anyone use this? Recommend it? Thoughts? Reviews?

Oh yeah ... I feel like the baby in the picture below and the sumo dude is the "Big G" telling me about the development stoppage of Notebook.

Imma Steal Someone's Comments

I really liked the way "Ginau" expressed his/her frustration on the comments board ... so I'm stealing it and posting it here. (the picture is not hers ... but I'm just using the "picture is worth 1000 words" to express emotions ... picture from crimfants)

Time to start looking for 'non-beta' alternatives for gmail, because this sucks and I certainly don't want to set myself up for another "migrate-a-thon" in the future by (foolishly) assuming that Google wouldn't just dump its most useful (and sadly, unique) tool without much
warning at all.

If the 'beta' moniker Google places on all of its products is essentially to be interpreted as "We reserve the right to just arbitrarily yank this tool, after pushing and pushing and pushing it, convincing you to store lots of data with us, etc, because everything at Google is wake up tomorrow and you never know what *won't* be there anymore.

Let's hope the companies that offer "stable/non-beta" software alternatives can come close to a decent Notebook clone, not to mention gmail -- because the only Big Name I'd trust less than google with my mail/data right now is/remains Microsoft. (But I

Shame. I can't remember a time when I actually posted to a blog, much less posted to bemone the death of a piece of software or (etc) -- and yet here I am, even knowing that these words (and the rest of the ~500 some odd pleas that came before it) are unlikely to have any sway or effect.

Online Petition Going Around

I got an email about an online petition going around to save Google Notebook.

If you're interested, the link is right here:

I'd love to see it work, however there's nothing (unfortunately) that would lead me to believe that if Google had a petition signed by 10,000 or 50,000 people that they would change their mind. Maybe they would? It's certainly worth a try.

I believe a more compelling argument is forming on the Google Notebook Blog comments section (428 messages as of right now ... here). There is a high level of anger, disappointment, and distrust that has been created by discontinuing development of Notebook. This upset is certainly justifiable given their actions .... AND equally important, their lack of a clear explanation behind this action ... AND their apparent inability to provide a suitable alternative (Docs? Wiki? c'mon). The free market will respond.

Correspondence from Google

I've been able to get some discussion with people within Google on this topic. However, as I suspected, the people I've been able to reach aren't the "right" people that can give me the answers I want.

Additionally, there is nothing (yet) I can share regarding the potential to re-evaluate the decision to halt development of Notebook or allow someone else to further it's development.

Clearly, there is a bit of a groundswell from the user community (like me) that should suggest to G that this product should be more valuable to them then it (apparently) is.

Sidenote: I received a note from the co-founder of UberNote that suggests I should have included his application in the poll. Check it out. Might be another alternative.

Anyone know someone to contact at Google

Anyone have an address / phone # of someone to contact at Google about buying and reviving Notebook?

Probably better to send me the note versus publishing it on the web for everyone to see.

Okay ... I've sent a note into a specific person at Google about this and will await a response. I doubt I've got the right person, but hopefully, I'll get bounced to the right one.

This Is A Travesty

Join me in support of Google Notebook.

I (unfortunately) am a realist and understand that Notebook is unlikely to be "saved" by Google ... however, this product was SO CLOSE to being the absolute best thing made by Google since their search technology.

This product should continue. It should be developed.

I would like to have an opportunity to buy and develop this product. Please join me and show your support for What Could Have Been Google's greatest product.

Stopping development on Google Notebook

Wednesday, January 14, 2009 6:30 PM
Posted by Raj Krishnan, Product Manager, Google Notebook

At Google, we're constantly working to innovate and improve our products so people can easily find and manage information. At times though, we have to decide where to focus our efforts and which technologies we expect will yield the most benefit to users in the long run.

Starting next week, we plan to stop active development on Google Notebook. This means we'll no longer be adding features or offer Notebook for new users. But don't fret, we'll continue to maintain service for those of you who've already signed up. As part of this plan, however, we will no longer support the Notebook Extension, but as always users who have already signed up will continue to have access to their data via the web interface at

If you haven't used Notebook in the past, we invite you to explore the other Google products that offer Notebook-like functionality. Here are a few examples, all of which are being actively improved and should meet your needs:

  • SearchWiki - We recently launched a feature on Search that will let you re-rank, comment, and personalize your search results. This is useful when you've found some results on Google Search that were really perfect for your query. You can read about how to use SearchWiki in this blog post.
  • Google Docs - If you're trying to jot down some quick notes, or create a document that you can share with others, check out Google Docs.
  • Tasks in Gmail - For a lightweight way to generate a todo list or keep track of things, we recently launched Tasks in Gmail Labs.
  • Google Bookmarks - For a tool that can help you remember web pages that you liked and access them easily, take a look at Google Bookmarks. You can even add labels to your bookmarks to better organize and revisit them.

While it's hard for us to make this announcement we believe it's the right decision for our users in the long run. And we're excited about all the new ideas we have for Docs, SearchWiki, Bookmarks and other products.