capsule review

AdventNet Zoho Notebook

At a Glance
  • AdventNet Zoho Notebook

    PCWorld Rating

    A powerful tool for creating, collecting, and sharing information; the beta version is rough around the edges.

Take Microsoft's OneNote note-taking program, put it on the Web, add lots of cool collaborative tools, and make it free--and you'd have something resembling AdventNet's Zoho Notebook, a service from an ambitious purveyor of browser-based apps.

Like OneNote, Zoho Notebook lets you organize information into multiple-page on-screen binders. The information can include text, graphics, audio, video, and embedded content from other sites. I especially like how an entire notebook page can behave as a word processing document or a spreadsheet, complete with the powerful, Office-like editing tools from AdventNet's other services. Altogether, it's a powerful way to collect everything relating to a particular professional or personal project.

Zoho Notebook outshines OneNote (and Google Notebook, a relatively spartan Web-based rival) in the depth and breadth of its features for working on a notebook with other folks. You can share an entire notebook, individual pages, or specific objects (such as images), and you can grant colleagues either editing or read-only privileges. There's even a built-in chat window for exchanging IMs with distant collaborators. And you can publish notebooks and pages for anyone to peruse.

AdventNet labels Zoho Notebook as a beta, and the version I tried was indeed a little glitchy; in particular, some features you'd assume it would have were missing in action. For instance, you can't search your notebooks, and the program comes without any documentation. (A handy Firefox extension lets you clip content from other sites, but AdventNet doesn't explain what it is or how to use it.) The company says that search and help for Zoho Notebook may be up by the time you read this, and it's working on polishing the application in general. But even in its current state, Zoho Notebook is well worth checking out if you need a home for brainstorming, research, and random data.

Harry McCracken

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    A powerful tool for creating, collecting, and sharing information; the beta version is rough around the edges.

    Pros

    • Good editing tools
    • Effective collaboration features

    Cons

    • Lacks documentation
    • Some performance bugs
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