Thursday, September 27, 2007

Google vs. Zoho Notebook

Comparing the usability of Google Notebook and Zoho Notebook ...

"Bookmarks folders just don’t do it for me anymore. Increasingly, I find myself dragging URLs from my browser into different clusters of web shortcuts on my desktop. There, they serve as temporary repositories for information relevant to some research project. For example, I currently have three such collections: one for research into a new TV, one for research into potential vacations, and one for research into a collaborative academic project. I often end up needing two monitors for such projects.

The Bookmarks (or Favorites) folder is just not up to such tasks. The problem is that my shortcut collections are transitory but immediate: I’m not going to need them for long, so they’re temporary; but they’re also up near the top of my to-do list, so I need them to be visible as reminders and for easy access. The Bookmarks folder, in contrast, has become for me a relatively long-term storage solution. I deem items placed within it as important and something that will likely be revisited at some point in the future, but are not immediately important.

Obviously, though, piles of shortcuts on one’s desktop are not an ideal solution, if only because of the clutter, or because I may be interested only in snippets of those pages rather than the entire page. Rather, the ideal solution would be one that let me store collections of snippets in a single place that is easily accessible but also out of the way. The tool would let me organize the snippets by theme and subtheme, and it would let me do it quickly. Importantly, because research for academic projects often involves accessing online files (e.g., PDF articles), it would let me add actual files (e.g., PDFs that I found online) to the collections so that I could keep everything in one place.

So far, the two tools that have best met my needs are Zoho Notebook (ZN) and Google Notebook (GN). I’ve been using the tools side-by-side for the past month, clipping the same content into each. The following sections describe my thoughts on the performance of each in the main functions of such products: clipping, organization, and sharing. In a nutshell, both are frustratingly short of being ideal; merged, they would make the perfect product.

Both products require installation of an add-on to your browser. For GN, doing so adds a “Note this (Google Notebook)” item to the bottom of your browser’s context menu, as well as a notebook icon in the status bar. Clicking that icon in either Firefox or IE (doesn’t work with other browsers) will open a Notebook “mini-window” — basically a full-featured but more compact version of the main Google Notebook page."    (Continued via UX Magazine)    [Usability Resources]

Google Notebook - Usability, User Interface Design

Google Notebook

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