I am happy to see the release today of Google Notebook. While the chief grumble appears to be that it doesn’t allow for tagging, I am okay with that (it will no doubt be added soon enough).
What Google Notebook does provide is a means to nab portions of web pages and add them to an online ‘notebook’. Notebooks can have folding sections in them and the text that is nabbed can be edited using a basic function online editor. The editor allow you to modify fonts, color and hyperlinks and a few other niceties. Sections of a notebook can be moved from one notebook to another by simply dragging and dropping. Snippets can also be rearranged within a notebook via drag and drop as well.
Google Notebook reminds me a lot of another application that I use on my Mac called StickyBrain. I use StickyBrain to grab text and graphics from various applications that I can then file away, organize and search for future reference. I find it very handy for when I want to just grab a snippet of something from a web page rather than bookmarking the entire page. Because StickyBrain is a Mac app, I also found myself wishing that I could do the same on the Windows based laptop I use for work. Until now, this really wasn’t possible. I could get part of the way there by using LookLater to have visibility to bookmarks between work and home systems (keep in mind, this was before del.icio.us provided private bookmarks) .
Google Notebook now lets me just nab the bits of pages that I want and share them StickyBrain-like between home and work. Frankly, I was relieved to find that the provided Firefox plugin works identically under both Windows and Mac OS X.
Now if only chronosnet would come out with a way to synch my Google Notebooks with StickyBrain this could be a very powerful solution (they already have an excellent Palm synch conduit and a .Mac synch so this is not new territory for them).
Currently, Google Notebook doesn’t appear to integrate much with the other Google offerings except for search. To me, the big opportunities her are integration with gmail and Google Maps. I would guess that other things like tags and the ability to subscribe to shared notebooks online will come in due time.
Overall, I like what I see with Google Notebook and am curious to see how it will evolve over time.