Google has released Google Notebook, a 'web clipping tool' announced at last week's press day at the Googleplex. From the site:
Michael Arrington is not impressed with Google Notebook, moaning about the lack of any product vision from Google:
Clip and collect information as you browse the web.
- Clip useful information.
You can add clippings of text, images and links from web pages to your Google Notebook without ever leaving your browser window.
- Organize your notes.
You can create multiple notebooks, divide them into sections, and drag-and-drop your notes to stay organized.
- Get access from anywhere.
You can access your Google Notebooks from any computer by using your Google Accounts login.
- Publish your notebook.
You can share your Google Notebook with the world by making it public.
To learn more about Google Notebook, please visit our overview page.
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.
I can kinda see his point there, but Google does seem to have some strategy; namely to throw out thousands of products in the hope that a few of them take off. He also laments the lack of tag support:
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.
I completely disagree with him here, as I posted in his comments. The reason Google doesn’t have any tag functionality is that they don’t feel they need it. Even Gmail only provides tags (labels) as an afterthought, that you can use if you want. I have found them largely unnecessary, as the search function works extremely well. I think Google wants to move away from tags, towards text analysis. This is a good approach in the long run as, whilst we are not yet at the stage for text analysis to be as fully effective as tags, it offers an infinitely greater potential at much less bother to the user. So I think Google’s got it right in this case.
Google Notebook could prove to be a useful tool, or it could be a rubbish tool. I guess we'll have to wait and see, but I doubt that it will ever have a particularly large userbase, unless it moves out of labs and becomes a major Google product, a move which I think would be both unlikely and silly for Google.