I was in Yokohama last Friday at the Zoholics offline meetup, and will blog about that shortly, but before that a note about one of the products I saw demoed there...
Zoho Notebook is one cool application. I have been using it to organise an upcoming trip, and I just love the way I can mash up all kinds of content into a convenient book metaphor.
For the trip my book contains:
- web pages of all the hotels I am looking at
- a maps page with google maps of all the stops
- a Zoho sheet containing all my expenses
- the conference booking page
- my itinerary on Google Calendar - with the world clocks that appear on my blog pasted in for good measure (have to be logged in to Google Calendar at the same time for this to work)
- a public page that I can publish for general consumption.
So why isn't this total love?
The offline story ... net connectivity is not everywhere I want to work.
Even if it can't magically cache all the web content, Notebook needs to be able to leverage a consistent framework for offline access and sync control of its own data that works across the various Zoho apps... I want to input my expenses into a Sheet in Notebook when I want to, and that could be in a cab, train, plane or anywhere I can't get reliable or convenient connectivity.
This is a big challenge for the cloud-based crowd, and Zoho is rising to the challenge by piloting Google Gears on Zoho writer. This is a good start, but integrating data, application settings, mashup configurations, etc. will certainly be a complex undertaking.