Dropbox is moving from a file storage service to a collaboration service, focusing on small businesses and creatives with its new all-in-one collaboration service, Paper. The premise of Paper is simple; it’s a place where you can create, edit, tag, and chat, all in one document. It essentially combines the aesthetic of Medium with the collaboration features of Google Docs.
Paper was originally named Notes, however it was soon re-minted and launched in beta. Now, the app is finally coming to the public — and it’s rolling out in a hefty 21 languages. Not only that, but the app is gaining new features every month — including things like mobile versions of the service.
Documents will begin with a blank page and minimal formatting options. Users can choose regular typeface with headers and bold or Markdown. Lines of code will automatically be formatted, similar to Dreamweaver’s code-recognition system.
Users will be able to import photos, videos, and sound bytes to the document. Other collaborators can be tagged in the document through an @ mention. And other Dropbox documents can be easily shared by importing them, with these being made instantly available to everyone inside the document.
Once multiple users have collaborated on a document, text will be highlighted, identifying who wrote what through a feature called Attribution. Collaborators can comment on the right side, similar to Google Docs, and can even send emojis like a wizard’s sleeve.
A search bar is available at the top to instantly find something inside the document or in another collaborated document. Dropbox has cut down on the number of toolbars, settings, and other clutter. The goal is to make Paper as simple as possible to use, while making it a powerful tool for collaboration.
Dropbox Paper is currently only available around the world. For now, it looks like Dropbox is targeting the individual, but might work with small businesses to bring them up to speed with the new collaboration service.
The only worry is that Dropbox may have come too late. The established players, Slack, Evernote, Google Docs, and OneDrive, each have a strong user base that is committed to that platform. It will be hard for Dropbox to change opinions, unless Paper can truly offer collaboration tools that far surpass the aforementioned competitors.
Updated on 01-30-2017 by Christian de Looper: Added news that the app had exited beta and is launching worldwide.
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