Zoho, the hosted Microsoft Office-like web application SaaS provider has been busy rolling out new features and capabilities to their Zoho Notebook product. The updates come at a good time for the company. As announced last week, Google is shutting down their Google Notebook product, leaving an opportunity for an upstart like Zoho to pick up customers in Google's wake.
The updates include a new version of the Zoho Notebook Firefox Plug-in, a feature to import Google Notebook items and a feature called "New Text Page".
Updated Zoho Firefox Plug-in
In order to facilitate an easy way to interact with your Zoho Notebook contents, Zoho has released an updated version of their Firefox plug-in. With the Zoho Notebook Plug-in, you can view existing notebooks, create new ones, create and edit pages and add text to a page.
Data that is edited inside the plug-in is synced to Zoho's cloud-based service.
One caveat is that the plug-in shows text-only content at this point. To view rich media such as video, audio and other embedded content, you'll have to go to the Notebook in a browser.
One added feature that we find quite useful with the Notebook plug-in is the ability to take screenshots of web-pages and upload these into Zoho Notebook.
Goodbye Google Notebook, Hello Zoho Notebook
With the coming demise of Google Notebook, Google users are looking for a hosted, lightweight alternative. Google suggests Google Docs as an alternative if you want to stay with a Google branded service. But what if Google Docs is too cumbersome and bloated for your quick note-taking needs?
Zoho has engineered a way to import all of your Google Notebooks into Zoho with three steps. First, install the Zoho Notebook plugin mentioned above, then log in to both Zoho and Google Notebook, and lastly, go to this url: chrome://zoho-notebook/content/g2z.html and click Start.
This process will automatically import all your Notebooks from Google into Zoho.
Inviting Google Notebook Users In
In order to add a feature that is familiar to Google Notebook users and make it easy for existing Zoho users to add text notes into a Zoho Notebook, the company added a "New Text Page" command to the web service. With this new facility, you can add text to a page and re-arrange the text objects by dragging and dropping them within the Notebook page.
This may seem like a small feature, but as a user of Google Notebook, I can attest to its ease-of-use when inputting and manipulating entered text.
Additional Changes to Notebook
Hot on the heels of the Google Notebook import functionality came a couple of other new features for Zoho Notebooks, including:
- Linking between Notebooks
- Audio and video recording
- Zoho Chat integration
- No more Custom Scroll bars
- RSS now accepts ATOM feeds
Read about all these new features on Zoho's blogs and website.
Zoho Has Growth Opportunity Ahead
As a nimble startup, Zoho has an attractive feature set with their suite of cloud-based applications. By making these innovative changes to Notebook and their other products, Zoho will remain a competitive force against the larger online office suites including Google and Microsoft.
Do you use Zoho products? What feedback do you have for the "little guy" startup?