Some Great Online Notetaking Tools

Regular readers of this blog have probably figured out by now that we are big fans of everything Google; so it was very disappointing to me to discover that the company decided to stop development of the great Google Notebook.  I used to use Google Notebook all the time -- it was a great way to capture snippets of information from the web and keep them all in one place, with different notebooks for different topics.

I've since moved on to using Evernote as my primary notetaking tool -- I like it better because it allows me to access and take notes from three different locations -- a web browser, a stand-alone software application, and an iPhone application.  That's why I was glad to see that Evernote was all over the Google Notebook decision, and is offering users of the discontinued service the opportunity to import all their notebooks over to Evernote.

Over on Twitter, people were asking me why I used an online notebook.  Here are the five top ways I use Evernote:

  • As my personal web archive -- rather than bookmark a page, I simply clip it to Evernote and keep it forever.
  • As a research tool -- I create a notebook and throw all my research snippets (whole pages, excerpts) into it.
  • Travel planning -- when I visit a city, I create a notebook for restaurants, hotel and sightseeing information.
  • Meeting notes -- I keep notes from all of my meetings within Evernote.
  • As my digital filing cabinet -- I keep lists and all sorts of other information there.  It's all searchable!

Perhaps Evernote is not for you.  No worries -- there are many other options, including these 17 Noteworthy Alternatives to Google Notebook.  No matter which tool you use, I think you'll find that an online notebook is a good way to have access to your important thoughts and notes no matter where you happen to be.


Google Docs -- Still a Risk for the Casual User?

How secure are your Google Docs?  If you use Gmail, you may recall that a few months ago Google turned on SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption -- the protocol that encrypts connections to prevent your email from being hijacked.  So, great -- your email is reasonably safe from hackers.  But what about your Google Docs?  According to ReadWriteWeb in Your Google Docs May Be Open to Hijacking, not if you have a basic account.  If you happen to be using the paid Google Apps Premier or Education editions, you have SSL encryption.  SSL is not, however, an automatic option for users of free Google Docs.

Now that's not entirely true -- if you're a free Google Docs user and you want to encrypt your documents, all you really need to do is type in HTTPS when entering the URL for Google Docs; that will give you an encrypted connection.  Also, according to ReadWriteWeb you can also get a secure connection if you click to other services from the Gmail navigation menu (at the top left of the page).  However, for most of you this probably isn't the best solution.

Again, another reason why, at least for now, Google Docs (the free version, anyway) is not quite ready to permanently store your legal documents.