Google Goes Analog With Its New Note-Taking Tools

The My Edit Notepad helps marketers use the Think With Google online service, just by checking off boxes with a pencil on paper.

Think With Google is a service Google offers that gives marketers insight into how to best promote their companies. It offers a series of tools which use Google’s own data to analyze trends, behaviors, and more. It’s a useful service, but Google wanted to figure out a way to make it easier for companies to try it out, while also getting useful results.


Google ended up turning to a curiously throwback technology for their solution: the humble pencil and paper. Or perhaps not-so-humble. With the help of London-based branding agency MultiAdaptor, they created the My Edit, an analog notebook and pencil that works as the UI for the online Think With Google experience.

Here’s how using My Edit works. Plugging the notepad into your computer, you open it to the first page, and tick off what you want to do with checkmarks from a pool of options like “increase brand awareness” or “drive sales.” Next, you check off the platform you want to leverage, such as search, video, mobile, or display. Once you’ve ticked the boxes off, the Think With Google website loads up on your computer, showing you ways in which you can accomplish what you just ticked off on paper. It’s like a bridge between a paper to-do list and Google’s actual website.

My Edit was created with the help of industrial designer Roland Ellis, who developed a conductive bookbinding glue which connects the MyEdit’s circuitry to printed pages without any other parts. The reason checking things off on a paper notepad is able to open webpages on a computer is because the ink marking off the checkboxes is conductive. When you draw a line through the box with a pencil, the graphite closes the connection, sending a signal to the Arduino board.

To get this off the ground, 1,000 “My Edit” notepads were made and sent out to companies in Italy and the UK. It’s a very clever way to onboard new customers who might otherwise find the abundance of tools on Think With Google intimidating. And even if you’re not interested in using Think With Google, the My Edit notepad comes with enough blank pages to be useful, even without plugging it in. I’d love to see a consumer notebook take a similar tack for to-do lists: Moleskine’s next tech play, perhaps?

[via Creative Review]

Related: Google’s New Logo Is Its Biggest Update In 16 Years