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Google Notebook and the Google Cloud in Bioinformatics

Ever since my friend Frank posted an article about how he has one foot in the internet "cloud", I have been a little worried about how much of my cloud is composed of Google apps. I currently have a Google cloud composed of Google Mail, Calendar, Reader, Docs, Groups, and most recently Notebook. It's convenient, the apps are useful, and it means I can access much of the information relevant to my work in bioinformatics wherever I am. I'm by no means a Google-only person (I use Vox rather than Blogger, for instance), and my set of a dozen or so "home" pages that I like to load whenever I open Firefox doesn't even have Google in a majority of tabs. But I can't help feeling slightly guilty and a little be worried about how dependent I've become on Google products. Then on top of that, I can't help feeling silly to be feeling guilty. It's my choice, after all!

So, moving past all that: today I've added Google Notebook to my cloud. I wanted to have somewhere where I could stash all those interesting papers that are sent to me each week via my personal tame searches on PubMed (aka MyNCBI: perform a regular search, click on "Save Search" and then ask email updates to be sent to you). I tried Connotea but never went and actually looked at it. I tried reading them when the emails arrived, but the time I have to read papers is never regular. So I deliberately had a look at the Google App list, and found Notebook. You can make notes on anything, but there is also a Firefox plugin that allows you to just highlight any portion of a web page you want and then place it directly in its own section of one of your notebooks. Further, Google Notebook is private unless you make it public. Here I can put all of my thoughts on these papers, whenever I have a minute to do it. Each clipping can be labelled, and comments can be added. The plugin is nice, but I've already made it break on one of the PubMed result pages. I suppose I'm talented?

Perhaps I'll finally get both the time to read all those interesting-sounding papers as well as have a single location that I'll actually visit. Only time will tell.

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By Allyson Lister

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