Yahoo is rolling out a new product to some users for testing today. It’s called Search Pad, and it’s supposed to help users save web pages and other information found while doing research online.
Gee, doesn’t this sound awfully familiar? Microsoft is testing a product called Thumbtack with a very similar goal, while Google has stopped active development on its comparable project, Google Notebook (competing notebooks are still going strong). Perhaps the coolest product in this area is “brain-aiding software” Evernote, which helps save data from the physical world, too, not just stuff you find online.
So does Yahoo really need its own “me too” offering? I haven’t used Search Pad myself, but judging by this demo video, it presents a very different approach to the problem. Whereas Thumbtack and the various notebooks function as more-or-less standalone products, Search Pad is closely integrated with Yahoo Search and can be seen as more of an extension of the search tool. Basically, it tracks your Yahoo search activity to see if it looks like research and automatically creates a document with all the pages you’ve visited, so you don’t have to manually record everything. At the same time, you can paste in other information you find online and take your own notes.
The automation could definitely make Search Pad a lot more handy (unless, of course, you do your searching with Google), but I’m still not convinced these products are much more useful than just copying and pasting into a word processing document. Then again, anyone who’s worked with me can attest to the fact that I forget things all the time, so maybe it’s time to give Evernote or Search Pad a try.