Why current solutions are not satisfactory?
– Paper and pen are not searchable. In addition, you could end up with piles of paper files in the long run, which is difficult to store and transport.
– Local electronic files are not readily accessible from mobile or Internet. You need to handle all the backup and sync stuff.
– MS OneNote is not free.
– Evernote is good, but you have to share your privacy with yet another company. Also, the free space is very limited.
Reasons to choose Google Drive
– Google Drive is searchable. Google search for meaningful words through the full-text. It also attempts to OCR the scanned text and recognize the objects in the images.
– It is accessible. You can access the contents via any web browser or your mobile device any where. Editing is automatically sync.
– Information is safely backed up in the long run. Google may be one of the most promising Internet company. Too big to fail. Even safer than most of local backups. It even stores revision history of your files.
– With regard to privacy, you already shared too much of them with Google if you used gmail, contacts, calendar, etc. If you want to benefit from modern information technology, this is the necessary evil. So why not share with only one of them?
– Last, it is almost free. Like email, cloud storage is the substrate of Internet application. To compete with others (that why I love Dropbox and Microsoft though I don’t use their products) and bound users, it is very possible that Google will increase the already large 5G free space in the future.
How to do it?
Simply create a dedicated folder under Google Drive for all your notes. Create a new gdoc file for each note. Rely on search box to find them.
How to use tags?
As google doesn’t provide an official tagging system for google drive at the moment, we’ll have to create our own way to achieve similar functionality. It should be designed to be:
- Easy to implement and use
- Felt like existing system
- Readily portable when google’s own system is out
The current solution is to add a line of hand-typed, semicolon-separated tags on the top of each note (presumably a gdoc file), followed by an empty line.
The tag should start with an underline. Underline is recognized by google as part of the word (while most other symbols don’t). When you search “_Tag” with quotes, google will precisely return documents with “_Tag” in it, excluding those happen to contain the common word “tag”.
The tag line should end with a semicolon (in case that sometimes the only tag is misrecognized as the title).
It is important to keep in mind that tags are added on purpose given that the full-text is indexed. It is more for filtering out entries that do not (explicitly) labeled, than including those that do have the same word in them (yet may or may not really relevant).
Important notes created in Scratchpad as well as notes directly created on desktop are better moved to another folder under Google Drive (e.g., Notes). Because the less stable third party apps could accidentally damage the data. Especially given that the materials under other folders can easily be accessed via Google Drive client.
Publish your notes: A new way of blogging