Zoho Notebook looks good

Zoho, the online competitor to Microsoft office, releases its Zoho Notebook application later this evening, and it looks very good.

It edges Microsoft’s competing product OneNote, and Google’s Notebook with sheer feature count and flexibility.

It does what Google Notebook allows, for example, letting you grab and drag content from Web pages onto a notebook page which you can then share with others.

It goes further, letting you build and share pages more dynamically, akin to OneNote offers, but with more — and with the advantage that it is Web based (which OneNote is not).

The demo video below (or if you are reading via RSS, click here ) is grainy, but gives a good overview. First, Zoho lets you put any audio, video, image or RSS feed onto a page, and drag them around the screen as you see fit. You can upload them from your desktop, insert them using URLs, or embedded code. It took us less than a minute to from the page below (by uploading an image and audio file, write some some text and embed a video.) There are graphic editing tools, and there’s built-in chat, and you can hold a Zoho meeting module too.

More powerfully, Zoho lets you load different applications — say a word processing page or a spreadsheet file — as your basic page. And Zoho lets you share any piece of your work — that is, the entire document of multiple pages, just a single page, or even just the objects within the page. Zoho gives you a URL for each of these levels for sharing, too. Each of these levels, be it entire document, page, or object, offers edit histories, and you can compare versions. Zoho lets you specify which people have editing status.

The list goes on. We talked with Raju Vegesna, and he elaborated the following scenario allowed by Zoho, both obvious and profound: Any student sitting in a classroom can turn around their Web-cam enabled Mac, record the teacher’s presentation with Zoho from the browser, save it, and then share it with any other student. As long as one student grabs it, all the other students can get it too.

There are legs on this product. Zoho already offers you multiple modules to put on your page, but imagine if Zoho were to strike a partnership with Netvibes that enabled you to place any of its 400 or so modules on your Zoho Notebook. That’s just one of several directions that make sense.

It’s the latest example of Zoho’s fast-moving pace. Take a look at its home page for the impressive number of tools Zoho now offers. See our past coverage.

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