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Alternatives for Google Notebook – Zoho Notebook vs UberNote

July 5, 2009

I looked for alternatives for Google Notebook before, but at that time my conclusion was “Still looking”. Upgrading to Firefox 3.5 prompted me to check this again (note: there’s a solution for Google Notebook add-on).

Zoho Notebook

What I said before:

I had to use the 2nd method to import my Google Notebooks: export into Atom format and import them individually, just like UberNote below. The imported notebook will use their new text page format. However, the title of each note was off (using the text from the first few lines), which is a little bit annoying. Besides, Zoho Notebook does not support the tagging.

Now Zoho Notebook has improved their import tool and text page format for Google Notebook. The “Session” in Google Notebook becomes “Page” in Zoho Notebook. The interface looks like Microsoft OneNote. The problem in the title has be corrected, but Zoho Notebook still doesn’t support tagging.

Another problem I found is Zoho Notebook’s search option. When I search for some phrases, either English or Asian languages, Zoho Notebook either lists the results that are not the notes containing the phrases or cannot find them at all. Zoho Notebook seems to be able find the phrase on which page. However, from the imported Google Notebook, each “page” (ie session in Google Notebook) may contains lots of text box (each as a note in Google Notebook). So, how can I find that specific note? 😕


What I said before:

After I imported two of my Google Notebooks into UberNote, the import tool messed up with the tags I used in Google Notebook because of, I guess, the different character encoding. And I couldn’t find a simple way to remove all the imported notes at once, except clicking “Trash” icon on each note. 😦 Not really convenient to me.

UberNote team replied me that they have taken care of the character encoding issue and are still looking at a way to handle multiple actions in Feb. In my 2nd try, well, not all problems have been solved.

It’s possible to do the multiple actions for all notes in one page. But each page has only 50 notes, so if you have lots of notes then you need to do several times. However, you cannot delete multiple tags in Tag Edit page. This bothered me very much because UberNote still has encoding issue. The exported Google Notebook in Atom is encoded in UTF-8. UberNote displays all tags in Chinese with “??” (no encoding problem in the content). 🙄

UberNote’s search function performs better than Zoho Notebook. It does find the notes with specified phrases.

My main problem with UberNote is that it cannot handle Google Notebook’s session. The basic idea of organization in UberNote is tagging but that idea came pretty late in Google Notebook as labeling. Initially Google Notebook only offered session, so I don’t use them in some of my notebooks (another reason is that you cannot bulk label notes in Google Notebook). When importing these unlabeled Google Notebooks into UberNote, all these notes are tagged with the notebook name but not the session names. I have thought of a work-around: move the session in Google Notebook to a newly created notebook and them import this notebook to UberNote. Lots of work.


The 2nd round is still not fit with my needs. But the question is: will I find the online note-taking tool that matches what I need? Or, should I keep using Google Notebook until the extension doesn’t fit with the new Firefox? It’s not that Google Notebook is perfect (e.g. see the previous paragraph), you know. <sigh>

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