Seven worthy Google Notebook replacements

With this week's news that Google Notebook is no longer getting any development updates, it might be time to look elsewhere. We've got you covered.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
5 min read

With Thursday's news that Google is discontinuing development on its Notebook service, it may leave a few people looking for a viable replacement. The good news is that there are a handful of really solid products that do the same thing, and in some cases--do it better. Here's a list of seven of our favorites, in no particular order.

1. Evernote

Evernote has a few big things going for it, the main one being its cross-platform architecture which lets you access and add to your Evernotes from multiple devices. It also has optical character recognition, which means any photos you send in will be scanned for text, which gets indexed for searching.

Serious desktop users will most likely want to download the local client, which enables you to create and edit notes even when you don't have an Internet connection. There's also a browser plug-in that lets you clip entire Web pages, or simply bits of them, to save for later.

If you want to get at Evernote on your phone there are clients for both the iPhone and Windows Mobile handsets. Both let you access your notes collection and create new ones right from your device. This includes things like voice messages and snapshots from your phone's built-in camera and microphone.

The service is free to use up to a certain amount of data per month, which you can easily go over if you intend to use it for archiving high-resolution photo scans or for storing large files. However, if you're just using it for quick notes, and a few photos and Web clippings you'll be well under the limit.

Shortly after the news that Google Notebook was ceasing development, Evernote announced it would soon be providing an escape hatch for users to export their stuff over to Evernote free of charge.

2. Zoho Notebook

Zoho's Notebook is probably one of the best services for ex-Google Notebookers to flock to if only for its collaborative features. Several people can work on the same notebook at once, and it combines a handful of Zoho's other Web productivity services into one place. For instance, you can drop in a presentation from Zoho Show, add a video from YouTube, Viddler, Vimeo, or any other site that uses embed code, as well as upload files from your desktop to share or squirrel away on Zoho's servers.

Additionally there's live chat with other Zoho users and collaborators, voice recording, and the capability to link to other notebooks within any notebook.

Its learning curve may be a bit steep for Google Notebook users unfamiliar with other Zoho products, but one thing that might help is the optional browser extension (for IE and Firefox) that lets users clip bits of Web pages to send to specific notebooks.

3. Clipmarks

If you were never really big into Google Notebook's writing feature, you'll probably dig Clipmarks. Once installed in your browser you can start clipping bits and pieces of any page you're on. These get stored in a central archive that you're able to search and browse through from any computer.

Like Google Notebook, Clipmarks lets you team up with other people to create a repository for various clippings. You can group together with these folks and send certain clippings to the shared space right when you're clipping them.

Where Clipmarks trumps Google Notebook is with its sharing, by letting you publish your clipping for the entire Clipmarks community to see and comment on.

4. Ubernote

Ubernote is right up there in both matching and surpassing the utility of Google Notebook. Like Google Notebook you can use it to grab bits and pieces of pages you're on, or simply as a storage space for collaborative writing and bookmarking. It also employs tags to let you sort and search through your content.

Ubernote works in all major browsers, has both an installable toolbar and a bookmarklet that lets you do the clipping. You can access it from the Web or on your mobile phone, and everything you create can be shared with others both in public and private groups.

One thing that makes Ubernote particularly attractive is that it lets you download your notes as an HTML file. This can be squirreled away on your hard drive or as an attachment in an e-mail due to its small size.

5. Springnote

Springnote takes a wiki-like approach to group notebooks. Like Google's effort you can keep a notebook personal or work on it with others. It's also entirely Web-based and employs tags and a quick search engine that lets you browse and sort through your work.

Springnote offers a much richer text editor than Google Notebook does. Like Zoho Notebook it also lets you insert all sorts of random media objects from anywhere on the Web or from your desktop. This includes document files that can be converted into Springnote notebooks. Like Ubernote, notebooks can be exported into HTML files for archiving or sharing.

In addition to its Web editor, there's also a free iPhone application that lets you view and edit your Springnote pages. You can use it to send photos you've taken to any one of your notebooks.

Springnote's one limitation is the 2GB cap per account, which you might run up on quickly if you're using it to store media files.

6. Delicious

If you were using Google Notebook specifically to save and share bookmarks you'll likely be pleased with Yahoo's Delicious service. It's got a huge user base, and a really excellent browser plug-in that lets you access your Web bookmarks just like they were on your local machine.

Like Google Notebook, the power of Delicious revolves around its tagging system. In Delicious' case you get the added benefit of the community, so if you're saving a site that other people have visited and tagged you can see what tags they used, and pick them for yourself.

Two things that Delicious is not able to do that you might have used Google Notebook for is saving bits and pieces of sites you're on, and creating and editing text. For that you're better off with one of the tools above.

7. Magnolia

Magnolia, like Delicious, is focused on communal bookmarking. Magnolia's big claim to fame is that it uses both tags and a five-star system that lets users rate various bookmarks. It also has groups by interest, where users can pool together related groupmarks for others to reference.

If you liked that Google Notebook saved pages you clipped in a "timeless" state, you'll dig that Magnolia does the same thing, except with entire pages at the time you bookmark them. It doesn't work on every site, but is a great way to link to something that may not be up forever.

Again, like with Delicious, you're missing out on the option to make a task list or jot anything down--it's purely for bookmarks.

Got any we missed? Leave them in the comments.