Zoho Notebook, the web-based tool for storing and sharing mixed content, has been chosen as one of the most innovative products of the year by PC World. Released last January, Notebook is inspired by the traditional spiral notebook. It provides a web-based platform to assemble written content, drawings, multimedia, rich text and any other form of content you wish and share it with whoever you please. It can be used as a collaborative platform, an online reference source, or just a dumping site for your doodles and scraps. As PC World puts it: “Notebook gives you a tabbed virtual notebook full of pages that you can put stuff on, including words, shapes, and imported graphics...but that's just for starters. You can also embed external files, Web pages, and word processing and spreadsheet snippets, or bring in RSS feeds, audio, and video. In other words, a Notebook notebook can be a remarkably rich document.”

Kicking Google SaaS

Perhaps the greatest innovation of all lies in the fact that Zoho is doing what nobody else seems capable of: beating Google in one of its core product fields. While the quality and innovation of the Google Apps products is beyond question, the Mountain View Monster has no answer, as yet, to the sheer range of Zoho's web-based products. It's getting to the stage where the list of Zoho's (mostly) free SaaS products is too long to write down. So we won't: but just direct you to Zoho instead so you can see for yourself. There's a fantastic range there... Writer (online word processor), Projects (project manager), Show (beautiful presentation tool to rival PowerPoint), Wiki, Meeting, and even online CRM and database management. Plus an ever-increasing number of plugins to integrate the suite with Office, IE/Firefox, Outlook... Imagine what Yahoo, for instance, could do if they bought out Zoho, and integrated the Suite into MyYahoo. At a stroke they'd be destroying Google in the breadth of online apps they would be able to provide. You heard it here first, folks.

PC World Innovation Awards

Meanwhile other products recognized for innovation by PC World included absurd trinkets like ridiculously overpriced cell phones and laughably pointless ebook readers. And some better stuff, like Google Gears, a plugin which allows Web applications to work offline; Mint.com, which aggregates all your online financial information (bank, credit card accounts etc.) and alerts you according to configurable filters (like suspicious activity, or if you're heading towards financial ruin); and a Facebook API. Go on down to Zoho to register for one of their fine services, and then go have a look at the full PC World innovation awards list.