Google’s Notebook webapp was tightly integrated with other Google apps, had a killer Firefox extension, and was great at getting things done. “Was,” though, because Google is ending support. Here’s where heartsick users should turn.
Note: Google Notebook isn't closing down right now, but its users should see the writing on the wall. In the service's official blog, Notebook's project manager states that its team plans to "stop active development," meaning no new features or sign-ups for new users, and the clipping extension will likely die off with the next big Firefox upgrade.
The developers point users to Google services they may already be using, like Docs and Gmail's new task manager. That's fine and good, but it's also scattering your favourite car's parts on your lawn. Here's where we recommend turning to if you enjoyed Google Notebook's grab-anything ubiquity (which some of our editors certainly have):
Evernote: Obvious? Sure, but every time we write about this brain-expanding universal collector/organiser, it adds even more features, and more developers hook their own neat apps into it. Evernote handles web links, text notes, pictures, voice memos, and even grabs text from images on your desktop, iPhone, or other smartphone, and puts it all in an easily sortable online brain. Recently, though, they've added file syncing, collaborated with the Pelotonics site for collaboration abilities, and even added real-time picture uploading with an Eye-Fi team-up. So it's an obvious pick for the clip-anything nature of Notebook, and, as seen in the screenshot at right, its interface isn't too far afield from Notebook, either.
Take ownership of your notebooks, bring them anywhere: If you don't have in excess of, say, 100 notebook containers (and you needed a new system if you did, anyways), Google offers a pretty format-free way to export all their information to pretty much any application you want to manage it. Click a notebook, choose the "Tools" menu, and you've got options for Google Documents (naturally), but, more importantly, HTML files, which can be read by Microsoft Office apps, any online text editor worth its salt, or, if you're looking for the look and feel of Google Notebook, your own go-anywhere TiddlyWiki (or its task-oriented remix GTDTiddlyWiki).
Upgrade your web clipping tool: Google Notebook's pretty great browser extension and bookmarklet tools made anything one found on the web easy to jam into a notebook and look at later. But they worked mostly in the text realm. More recently-conceived (or at least recently-updated) tools like Snipd (which we previewed) and Clipmarks (which LH alumnus Rick really liked) can get the job done with text, pictures, videos, entire web sections—whatever you select and click to grab. They're worthy
successors of a different sort—like Evernote, without the organisational demands.
Digital Inspiration has a few more ideas on reclaiming and reusing your Google Notebook files. Were you a dedicate GNotebook-er, and what will you miss most? What are you planning to do with your own notebooks? Tell us your take in the comments.