Thursday, August 16, 2007 at 9:54 AMNick Fey, Google Finance designer
When we study how people make and gather notes when researching companies online, almost everyone tends to use a word processor, a spreadsheet, or (sadly) scraps of paper. Whatever they use, there seems to be consensus that they're generally dissatisfied with the approach and tools they use. We have something you may be unaware of which could solve some of these same problems. It's called Google Notebook.
- It uses a browser plugin -- you can make notes no matter what website you're on.
- Create a notebook for each company you're researching to stay organized.
- Collaborate on notebooks with specific friends, coworkers, clients, investment club members.
- Search your notes to locate anything easily.
- No typing needed -- just highlight the text on the screen and drop it into your notes with one click.
Once you download and install the browser plugin you can access a notebook at any time from the bottom of your web browser.
Clicking on this icon at any time brings up the notebook which sits on top of the content of the page you are on. In the image below I have created a new notebook called 'Google Research':
I can highlight some content on the page like this:
...and hit the clip button on the notebook which drops the highlighted content into a note. Luckily it keeps the formatting.
Now I can highlight the whole market summary section, copy (Ctrl-C on my PC) and paste (Ctrl-V) it into the notepad. It pulls in all the formatting and images!
I can pop out the notebook to exist in a new window. Here I have navigated to the Financials page, highlighted a section of the table and pasted it straight in the notebook.
As part of my Google research I also pay a visit to Yahoo Finance and notice a news story that catches my eye. As the notebook is integrated with the browser I can clip the story straight into the same notebook. It retains the link to the story for me to access at a later date.
At the end of my research session I can visit the Google Notebook main site and here I have options to add collaborators and share the research with a co-worker who can type notes in themselves, clip or paste in their own website content. Here is also a search box where I can easily locate any notes I have previously made.
We are currently thinking through some ideas to integrate Google Notebook more closely with Google Finance to make the functionality even more useful. For example, displaying notes made about a company on the company page chart as flags similar to how we currently display news articles. We would love to hear your own ideas in the comments. If you give Notebook a try, please leave a comment describing how you got on with it and share any tips you come up with to help other Google Finance users make the most of this cool tool.
Update: Made a correction in the first paragraph.