No more Google Notebook for new users

4 06 2009

Google has stopped development on its Notebook product and is not going to offer this feature for new users. What a pity! Nevertheless, it’s very comforting to know that Google is allowing the current users to continue using it. I’m safe. I just hope it doesn’t back out on that in at least near future.

For quite a while, I was not able to find Notebook listed on the ‘More Google Products’ page (that’s the usual way I access it) but I didn’t give it a serious thought until a few days ago. When I googled, I immediately came upon this announcement on Notebook’s official blog, dated Jan 14th 2009.

(Note: The existing users can now access Notebook only through http:www.google.com/notebook/)

I wonder what made Google think that Notebook isn’t useful to the users in the long run! Google suggests a few other products for users to look at, which offer Notebook-like functionality , but frankly I’m not very impressed by them:

  • SearchWiki
  • Google Docs
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Tasks in Gmail

While each of the above products cater to one particular need – creating task lists or bookmarking web pages or saving information etc, none of them provide a wholesome environment in which you can organize all the information by projects or topics and share them with others. Notebook does it.

I find Notebook very useful and handy. Though I actually favor Microsoft’s OneNote for its better features and better look, the fact that Notebook is online makes it more desirable to me.

I can’t resist the urge to say a few words about OneNote now that I mentioned it. It has actually blown we away when I first took a look at it. I was so impressed.  It has a very pleasant appearance with good color scheme. It comes with the default templates for Work and Personal Notebooks. It also includes a notebook for OneNote Help. One distinguished feature is the absence of the Save option. There is no need for it as the content gets saved simultaneously as you type or paste. Of course there is a Save As option which enables you to save the page or notebook in various formats. And what’s more,  every piece of the content you paste is accompanied by the source url (unless the source is WordPad or Notepad or an unsaved Office document). This feature is really really cool and extremely helpful. And of course, OneNote offers the other common Office features and has integration with Outlook. You can send a page to friends via email (it is sent as an attachment) with just a click.

However, the single disadvantage that it’s not a web product seems to outweigh all these awesome features, at least in my opinion. How I wish OneNote is online!

I’m a kind of person who handles many projects at a time (both work-related and personal), does lot of research and collects information. And OneNote (or Notebook) provides a perfect place for organizing all that stuff. I was just hoping that Google would improve Notebook to match or exceed OneNote and this move by Google came out as a surprise. Obviously, Google didn’t take users like me into consideration.( I’m sure there are lot more like me out there.)





Yahoo!’s revamp

4 06 2009

Looks like Yahoo! is revamping its portal besides undergoing massive corporate restructuring. It has closed down its Briefcase service a few months ago and is now dropping 360 (Of course, there was the back out of Yahoo! Photos a while ago) .

I’ve completely forgotten about my 360 profile and didn’t acknowledge its existence since a long time, until I received a mail from Yahoo! announcing its closure. Ever since the advent of Orkut, I found no use for my Yahoo 360 profile. It seemed Orkut and Facebook have completely overshadowed it. Closing down 360 is perhaps a good idea, unless Yahoo improves it dramatically.
I don’t feel the same way about Briefcase, though. I have had a long term relationship with it. Yahoo Briefcase provided a perfect option back then to save important documents and files online, so that one could access them from anywhere through Internet. The 30 MB limit seems ridiculous now, but it was good enough in those old days.
A little while later, Google introduced Google Docs. The purpose and functionality isn’t the same as Briefcase, but I thought, at a first glance, that I found an alternative to it and was wooed by the large amount of space Google offered. But Google Docs didn’t meet all my requirements. I couldn’t even upload image files to it, let alone exes. This disappointment in Google Docs made Briefcase even more precious to me.
I felt real bad letting my Briefcase go. 😦
Apart from closing down existing services, the revamp includes introduction of some cool new features too. Read about them here.

I’ve completely forgotten about my 360 profile and didn’t acknowledge its existence since a long time, until I received a mail from Yahoo! announcing its closure. Ever since the advent of Orkut, I found no use for my Yahoo 360 profile. It seemed Orkut and Facebook have completely overshadowed it. Closing down 360 is perhaps a good idea, unless Yahoo improves it dramatically.

I don’t feel the same way about Briefcase, though. I have had a long term relationship with it. Yahoo! Briefcase provided a perfect option back then to save important documents and files online, so that one could access them from anywhere through Internet. The 30 MB limit seems ridiculous now, but it was good enough in those old days.

A little while later, Google introduced Google Docs. The purpose and functionality isn’t the same as Briefcase, but I thought, at a first glance, that I found an alternative to it and was wooed by the large amount of space Google offered. But Google Docs didn’t meet all my requirements. I couldn’t even upload image files to it, let alone exes. This disappointment in Google Docs made Briefcase even more precious to me.

I felt real bad letting my Briefcase go. 😦

Apart from closing down existing services, the revamp includes introduction of some cool new features too. Read about them here.





Google woe!

3 06 2009

 

I love Google and not just for its amazing search capabilities. I love Google’s other services as well such as Reader, Documents, iGoogle, Picasa, Orkut, Notebook etc.
Everything seems so cool. I just have one inconvenience. Whenever I have to go to Orkut from any of the google pages, there is no link to it readily available to me like there are links for Gmail, Photos, Documents etc.
I hate typing the URLs and sometimes lazy even to use bookmarks – my bookmarks list is usually very lengthy. That leaves me the following option:
Click the link “more” at the top of the google page and from the dropdown, click “even more”.

I love Google and not just for its amazing search capabilities. I love Google’s other services as well such as Reader, Documents, iGoogle, Picasa, Orkut, Notebook etc.

Everything seems so cool. I just have one inconvenience. Whenever I have to go to Orkut from any of the google pages, there is no link to it readily available to me like there are links for Gmail, Photos, Documents etc.

I hate typing the URLs and sometimes lazy even to use bookmarks – my bookmarks list is usually very lengthy. That leaves me the following option:

Click the link “more” at the top of the google page and from the dropdown, click “even more”.

Google

Then a new window/tab opens with all the services listed and I have to scroll down to Orkut so that I can click it.

You can see that this is so annoying.

And also I hate to see all those links which I never click, up there: Sites, Finance, Scholar etc.

I would very much like Google to note my preferences and personalize my page – providing the links to those services which I use the most at the top of the page and removing those I use the least( Or at least pushing them to the bottom of the list).

I don’t think this is too much to ask 🙂