Preview: Zoho Notebook Takes On Microsoft's OneNote - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
News

Preview: Zoho Notebook Takes On Microsoft's OneNote

The latest Zoho online application will provide a free place for assembling and sharing info -- once it's ready for prime time.

AdventNet is certainly bent on challenging the big boys. Its Zoho line of online applications -- which includes a word processor (Zoho Writer), spreadsheet (Zoho Sheet), wiki (Zoho Wiki) and presentation package (Zoho Show), among others -- is one of the few free office suites out there that has the potential to give apps such as Google Docs & Spreadsheets any competition. The latest addition to the suite, however, seems to have Microsoft's OneNote squarely in its sights: Zoho Notebook, a collaboration/note-taking tool.

According to the online description, Zoho Notebook (which is currently in a limited alpha release) lets you "Create, Aggregate and Collaborate on multiple types of content online." The idea is to give users a place to assemble a wide variety of information in one place: text, line drawings, images, Web pages, video, RSS feeds, and other media. In other words, Notebook is Microsoft OneNote on an AJAX diet.



Zoho Notebook will help users assemble a variety of data types.
(Click image to enlarge.)


Notebook has a lot of potential for people who like working online and especially those who want to share with others. You could, for example, create an online notebook that contains a spreadsheet with your project budget, the text of your latest report, an image of your sample product with some flaws circled, and a video of your engineer explaining what went wrong -- and then have others in your group review it and add their own comments.

The application is nicely laid out: To the left of the workspace, you have a series of buttons that let you add new notebooks, pages, and elements. Tabs on top of the workspace let you go from one notebook to another; pages are tabbed on the right.

On the bottom right, a small toolbar lets you access the drawing tools. It took me a few minutes to find it, but once I did, I found it very handy for circling text, making freehand notes, etc. I especially liked the bubble shape (resembling the dialog balloons in comics) that lets you point to an element on the page and comment. I also admired Notebook's multimedia elements; for example, I easily added a video feed that I had previously posted on YouTube, something that OneNote can't do (it only takes direct video from a camera).

Let's Share
The ability to share your work with others is one of the major advantages of online applications. Zoho's heart is in the right place -- the app lets you share whole notebooks, pages, or even separate objects on a page, either by hitting the "Actions" button that is at the bottom right of every object, or the "Share" button at the top of every page. You will also be able to publish any Notebook page to a public Web page (a feature which didn't work in the alpha).

Currently, the Share feature requires that you know the Zoho user name of the person you want to share with. I hope that by the time it hits beta status, Zoho Notebook follows the example of Google's Docs & Spreadsheets -- you should be able to invite a non-member to join, rather than just getting a terse "Share Failed" message.

Finally, one important feature that I did not see any evidence of is a search function. If I'm going to be putting a lot of notes and other information into Zoho Notebook, I'll want to be able to find it quickly and easily. Without its own search, all of Notebook's other great features won't do me -- or anyone -- a lot of good.

Zoho Notebook is currently in a limited alpha test mode; according to AdventNet, it will be released for public beta sometime in March.


Zoho Notebook
AdventNet, Inc.
www.zoho.com
Price: Free
Summary: Zoho Notebook may rival Microsoft OneNote in its ability to assemble notes, video, audio, spreadsheets and other data; the public beta is due in March.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The State of IT & Cybersecurity Operations 2020
The State of IT & Cybersecurity Operations 2020
Download this report from InformationWeek, in partnership with Dark Reading, to learn more about how today's IT operations teams work with cybersecurity operations, what technologies they are using, and how they communicate and share responsibility--or create risk by failing to do so. Get it now!
Slideshows
10 Cyberattacks on the Rise During the Pandemic
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  6/24/2020
News
IT Trade Shows Go Virtual: Your 2020 List of Events
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  5/29/2020
Commentary
Study: Cloud Migration Gaining Momentum
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author,  6/22/2020
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
Key to Cloud Success: The Right Management
This IT Trend highlights some of the steps IT teams can take to keep their cloud environments running in a safe, efficient manner.
White Papers
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll