Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Google Notebook Launches: Ho-Hum

You no longer need to see the pre-release screenshots: Google Notebook is now live at google.com/notebook.

As I mentioned in my previous post, Google Notebook is a direct Del.icio.us competitor. You can bookmark content (a web page or a piece of content on a web page) either via normal Google search (click on the “note this” link at the bottom of a search result), or on the open web with an IE or Firefox extension (highlight text, right click).

Once content has been bookmarked, you can add a note and categorize it. No tagging (and no multiple categories per item) are supported. However, I like the clean drag and drop Ajax interface for organizing bookmarks.

Multiple Notebooks can be created and any or all of them can be made public. There is a search function that can be used to search across your own Notebooks, or all public Notebooks.


The lack of tagging is important: it is natural to be able to tag a piece of content to make searching easier in the future - its unclear why Google doesn’t support this proven model for describing bookmarks.

My final thought is this: Google Notebook will have some level of success just because it’s associated with Google, and built directly into search results. Like Aim Pages, I do not feel that it is a particularly inspired product, or one that I would give much of a chance if it didn’t have Google backing it up. Del.icio.us would have been a perfect acquisition for Google, right down to the user interface which is very Google-like. For whatever reason they let it go to Yahoo. I suspect that over time they’ll regret that decision.

I also wonder about Google’s dedication to its own projects. For example, what will be the fate of Google Bookmarks now that Google Notepad has launched? Google Labs is littered with half baked and half finished products. I see little or no product vision coming out of Google, sitting fat and arrogant on it its Adsense revenues.

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