Stopping development on Google Notebook

Wednesday, January 14, 2009 6:30 PM

At Google, we're constantly working to innovate and improve our products so people can easily find and manage information. At times though, we have to decide where to focus our efforts and which technologies we expect will yield the most benefit to users in the long run.

Starting next week, we plan to stop active development on Google Notebook. This means we'll no longer be adding features or offer Notebook for new users. But don't fret, we'll continue to maintain service for those of you who've already signed up. As part of this plan, however, we will no longer support the Notebook Extension, but as always users who have already signed up will continue to have access to their data via the web interface at

If you haven't used Notebook in the past, we invite you to explore the other Google products that offer Notebook-like functionality. Here are a few examples, all of which are being actively improved and should meet your needs:
  • SearchWiki - We recently launched a feature on Search that will let you re-rank, comment, and personalize your search results. This is useful when you've found some results on Google Search that were really perfect for your query. You can read about how to use SearchWiki in this blog post.
  • Google Docs - If you're trying to jot down some quick notes, or create a document that you can share with others, check out Google Docs.
  • Tasks in Gmail - For a lightweight way to generate a todo list or keep track of things, we recently launched Tasks in Gmail Labs.
  • Google Bookmarks - For a tool that can help you remember web pages that you liked and access them easily, take a look at Google Bookmarks. You can even add labels to your bookmarks to better organize and revisit them.
While it's hard for us to make this announcement we believe it's the right decision for our users in the long run. And we're excited about all the new ideas we have for Docs, SearchWiki, Bookmarks and other products.

UPDATE, January 22.
Since this post went up, we've received lots of feedback. In particular, many of you seem concerned about what will happen to the information and data you've already put into Notebook. So we'd like to reiterate and clarify a few things.

First, since we're maintaining the service via, every single notebook and all the existing features of the web interface will still be available. Those of you that already use the web interface should see no change in how the product behaves. Second, we guarantee that you will always have access to and control of your notebooks; we completely appreciate the effort and knowledge that your data represents and are committed to making sure you don't lose it. Finally, if you're looking for a way to easily export your information out of the product, the feature already exists. In the upper right corner of the web interface, under the "Tools" menu, there are two export options: "Export to Google Docs", and "Export as HTML".

We hope this addresses some of your concerns. Thanks for all your feedback and suggestions.

OMG Google Chrome!

Thursday, September 4, 2008 1:44 PM

There's been a lot of excitement about Google Chrome, Google's fast and clean new web browser. But you may have noticed that it's missing a way to clip to Google Notebook! Oh noes! Luckily, you can still add and use the Google Notebook bookmarklet. To install a bookmarklet on Google Chrome, click the in the upper-right, and select "Always show bookmarks bar."

Then, go to the bookmarklet page and drag and drop the bookmarklet on to your bookmarks bar.

The next time you find something you want to clip, click on "Note This" in your bookmarks bar and away you go. Hurrah!

Another cool feature in Chrome is the ability to make application shortcuts. Just go to the full-page Google Notebook, click on the icon, and choose "Create application shortcuts..." This feature will let you launch notebook in its own window straight from your desktop.

Notebooks to go

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 11:38 AM

Our friend Export is tired of the bar scene and has moved into his own place. To check it out his swanky new digs, look down at the bottom of your notebook and click the Export link.

That will take you straight there.

Most of these exports are old friends, but what's that sneaky ATOM thing at the bottom? It's a way to export your notebook and import back again. Just head over to the Manage Notebooks page and bring it right back.

What good is this? Well first of all, the export is an ATOM-formatted document, so you can edit it to your heart's content. You can back your notebooks up, or hax0r on them, or write converters to get data into Google Notebook from other sources. Most importantly, though, we believe that you put your notebooks there, they belong to you, and now you can take them back. They're your notes: do whatever you want with them!

I Can Has Bookmarklet?

Thursday, July 10, 2008 3:34 PM

I love my Google Notebook browser extension. It's like a faithful puppy. It follows me by my side everywhere I go on the Internet.

Sadly, I can't always take my Firefox extensions with me. Maybe I'm traveling, using a friend's computer, or perhaps I feel like using Safari today. Then I find a hilarious picture of a LOLdog. ZOMG! How do I clip it to Notebook???

We have a solution: the Google Notebook bookmarklet! Just add the bookmarklet to your browser's bookmarks bar. Every time you click on it, it will grab your current selection and post it to your Google Notebook in a small window.

To be fair, the bookmarklet is like the dirty pig to my trusty Firefox extension sheep dog. But when I need to clip and I need it now and my extension isn't right beside me, it's definitely helped me. I hope it will help you, too. Let us know how it feels.

That'll do, bookmarklet. That'll do.

Size Does Matter

Friday, June 20, 2008 11:27 AM

If you could see my desk, you'd know I like to spread my things out. I need plenty of room for all my papers, books, Oblique Strategies cards, and other desk-based flotsam. When my desk is small, it feels like a mess and I can't seem to focus on anything.

Similarly, the Google Notebook browser extension has always felt a bit cramped. It's small enough to leave open while I'm surfing and add new stuff, but not really big enough to easily view my existing notes. So you can imagine my pleasure that the latest release includes the ability to choose a size for the mini notebook! Now when I open up a recipe in my recipes notebook, it's big enough for me to follow along (no more imperfectly boiled eggs for this designer!).

To change the size of your mini-Notebook, just open the Tools menu and pick "Resize." You can choose small, medium, or large.

Of course, not everyone might need or want a 5,000 square-foot home, so we'd love your feedback: What size options would be useful? Is it helpful to have a choice?

Google Notebook's Official Guide to Bars

Friday, April 11, 2008 5:24 PM

Today, it's my pleasure to announce the opening of two trendy new bars on the Notebook home page.

Uptown, we have the new editing toolbar. It offers a wide selection of text-editing tools from Google's text-editing artisans. All the standard tools from the old Notebook toolbar are still here, but we've added a new strikethrough button. More importantly, the toolbar has a fresh new look! And by "fresh," we mean freshly stolen from our friends over at Google Docs.

If you take a look downtown, you'll find our new export bar. There's nothing really new here: in fact, you've probably seen a few of these options before, scattered throughout Notebook. But it's nice to finally have a one-stop shop when you're ready to gather all the stuff you've collected in Notebook, and take it out on the town. You can plot a notebook of locations on a map, format any notebook as a document, and send a public notebook to Google Reader.

We hope you enjoy these new tools. I think I'm going out tonight and celebrate: by creating a notebook of all my favorite bars!

Take addresses to go with mobile map links

Tuesday, February 26, 2008 3:11 PM

For some time now, Notebook has automatically detected correctly-formatted U.S. addresses in your notes, letting you view them by choosing "View on a map" from the Tools menu. And we recently made it possible to export these maps to the "My Maps" feature in Google Maps for additional customization. The Notebook team even used this feature when it met up in New York last December to plan a tasty dessert tour of New York. But when it came time to walk around the city, we had to print out the map; it turns out the time when addresses are most handy is when you're out in the real world, not at a computer.

Today, we launched a feature that addresses (so to speak) this problem by linking from the mobile version of Google Notebook to Google Maps. When looking at notes that have identifiable addresses on your mobile phone, you can click the "View in Google Maps" link and jump right to a map. We hope this will be handy way to get to friends' addresses, restaurant locations, apartments from Craigslist, or wherever else you may be going after doing your research online.