Google's new Notebook tool lets you clip text, images or search results and save them in online notebooks that you can share with others. How does Google's new tool stack up against the competition?

Web research tools have been around since the first web bookmarks allowed you to save a list of favorite URLs. These types of tools are designed to help you save, organize and revisit content you've found on the web. Some are simple clipping tools; others allow you to create searchable databases of web content with lots of bells and whistles.

The Google Notebook, like most of Google's recent product offerings, leans toward the simple and sparse. To use it, you need a free Google Account and must be logged in. Then you need to download a browser extension to enable the service.

Google Notebook is currently only available for Internet Explorer 6 (not the beta version of IE 7), or Firefox 1.5+. Users of other browsers can't use the tool, though Google says it may make versions for Safari and Opera available later.

Once you've downloaded and installed the browser extension, simply highlight content from web pages you want to save, right click and select the "Note this (Google Notebook)" option. The content you selected is saved, with the source URL automatically captured as well. This works even if you don't highlight any content—it has the same effect as bookmarking a page in Google Notebook.

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