When it comes to browsing the web I rarely look to Internet Explorer as a browser these days. However, when Google updated their toolbar for IE I decided to take a look. The primary thing that got me interested was the new stuff for Google Notebook. Notebook is one of those Google services that I have always felt was right on the border of being a killer app, but was just missing a little extra punch to push it over the edge.
Back in early November Google updated Notebook with some label and bookmarking functionality. I took a look then, and thought what they had done was pretty cool. In fact, I started adding some of my bookmarks to Google Bookmarks, and in turn to Notebook. The new IE toolbar seems to have taken the integration a step further though. When you click the down arrow next to the Bookmarks star button the list you see contains both a labels AND a notebooks section. You can actually see your notebooks, and the links they contain, from within the bookmarks menu. If you select the manage all option, the Unfiled Bookmarks page in Google Notebooks is displayed. You are never brought to the old Google Bookmarks interface. Here is a quick video showing the ability to access the same bookmark from both the IE menu and the Google Notebook interface.
I also find it interesting that you look in the Unfiled Bookmarks notebook to find the majority of your bookmarks. This new interface is encouraging you to take your bookmarks, and move them to relevant notebooks. The new toolbar for IE will let you search for Bookmarks and it finds them whether they are in other notebooks or in the unfiled notebook. The Firefox integration does not search them when they are moved outside of the unfiled bookmarks notebook. Google is definitely making changes to bring the notebook product to the forefront of it’s bookmarking service. One nice thing about using the Notebooks interface is that you can share a notebook, and use it to share some bookmarks (my shared page of RPG’s). You cannot share via the original bookmarks interface.
So what is Google up too? If they are trying to make a better bookmarking tool they are off to a decent start. I will talk more about my new found “super bookmarks” in a future entry (you can sort of get an idea what I mean by watching the video mentioned above). The implementation of labels (tags) in all of the Google interfaces is terrible though. I have hundreds of labels and they just show in one HUGE list (often a list that not alphabetized). Most definitely need a label/tag cloud. I for one hope that we see some more changes to this service in the near future. Google Notebook is very close to that edge, almost a killer app.