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Sep 08

Google Notebook will be closed! – What to do now?

A few days ago, Alan Eustace announced to bury some more Google products. This also includes Google Notebook, where I have stored a lot of ideas and post drafts. Other products are Google Pack, where you were able to download popular software (Skype, Adobe Reader, Chrome and Antivirus software) all at once or Google Desktop, to search files locally on your hard drive. A full list is mentioned in the blogpost linked above.

What happens to notes, when Google Notebook is closed down?

“We’ll be shutting down Google Notebook in the coming months, but we’ll automatically export all notebook data to Google Docs.”, is the comment to this question by Google. So in most cases, you don’t have to do anything, except maybe updating your favorites. But take some minutes considering to save your notes elsewhere. Google Docs isn’t Google Notebook and has, in my opinion, a completely different purpose.

Where can I store my notes then?

There are many popular web services, wh aich offers same or better functionalities to fulfill your requirements. Because Google Notebook was a cloud service, I will limit the following services to just that. If you consider, using a client application, I’ll recommend you to take a look at a list of alternatives.

Is there any option to export existing notes?

As mentioned above, there are a lot of services available to store your notes online. Please take a look at the one, which is suitable for you and follow the steps below to import your existing notes.

Evernote Logo

Evernote is available for nearly all platforms. Besides the basic online functionalities and Quick-Access Plugins for most browsers, they provide apps for iOS, BlackBerry OS, Android and Windows Mobile. For desktop use, you can download an offline client for Windows and Mac. As in Google Notebook, you can manage multiple notebooks, each containing unlimited notes. Labels are called tags in here, but are basically the same.

To import existing Google Notebook notes into evernote, you first have to log into your Google account and export each notebook as Atom. Save them locally on your hard drive.

Export a Google Notebook into an Atom file

Then, create a new Evernote account in case, you’ve hadn’t before. Log in and keep moving into your settings. Here you can choose “Google Notebook” from a list of predefined import connectors. After chosing an appropriate name, you can see all your notes, labels and headings in Evernote.

Import Notebook into Evernote

Springpad Logo

Springpad not only offers a notebook, but extends it with a task list. As I’ve seen in my circle of aquaintances, Springpad is mostly used as an iPhone app. But they have also an app for Android-based smartphones and several extentions for mostly all popular browsers (except Microsoft’s Internet Explorer). Additionally, you can send new notes via e-mail and they will be added to your notebook, too.

To import notes from Google Notebook, Springpad doesn’t offer an interface themselves, but MostMedia have developed an import service. Of course, you have to grant them permissions to your Springpad account. I was starting some quarrels with myself when I decided to test it with a fresh account. First, you have to export each notebook as an Atom XML file.

Visit the import page at (Don’t get confused by the page title. Nobody’s perfect.) Just fill out the formular and after some seconds, your notes are imported into Springpad. Be sure, that your exported XML file doesn’t exceed a size of 1 MB. The service won’t upload your notes then.

Import to Springpad succeeded


Zoho Notebook Logo

Zoho is something like the hardest competitor of Google Apps. They offer a calendar, mail, an online office suite with collaboration features, multiple business apps like a CRM or a bugtracker and also a notebook. Because of the wide range of products, you’ll see a lot of possibilities to insert and format your notes. To tell the truth, I’m a bit overstrained. As far as I concern, Zoho only provides Plugins for browsers but no mobile app.

Importing an existing notebook into Zoho is very easy. Export each notebook from Google into an Atom XML file and save it locally. You may know this procedure from the products before, it’s always the same. Besides that, you have also the option to install a Windows application or install an add-on in Firefox. Both are ways, I won’t recommend just because of my laziness to uninstall them afterwards.

Now, you have to log into your Zoho account and open the notebook app. In the menu bar at upper screen, you will get a direct link to the Zoho import feature for Google Notebook files. The steps explained here are described very detailed. Choose the file from your hard drive and it will be imported with all tags and labels attached.

Import to Zoho Notebook

Google Docs

Last, but not least, you can also export your notes manually to Google Docs. In case, you’ve read the steps for other services before, you may have noticed the first option “Document”. Clicking this link will automatically generate a new document with the same title as your notebook and add all notes below each other. You don’t have to do the export-import-clicking thing. Just for the sake of completeness. ;)

The ultimate alternative for Google Notebook doesn’t exist. All of those services have their individual strengths and disadvantages. For me, this announcement has given me a reason to take a look beyond the rim of my teacup and made my experiences. But I’ve surely forgotten many other great tools online. Do you know any other?

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