Dropbox Announces Its Own Collaborative Document-Editor, Paper

We have yet another collaborative document-editing tool, this time courtesy of Dropbox, who have also revealed a slightly-revamped logo. It is a market where rivals such as Microsoft, Google and Evernote are all present but it’s clear that Dropbox means business too.

Paper is a rehash of existing products in private beta, Notes and Composer, which were announced just recently. The services are expected to be spiced up as they leave beta for a formal, wider release.

It can be accessed via a web-app for now with a Dropbox account but mobile users will be covered once it goes out of beta. The interface is highly simple and minimal as of now, with low (read: very low) customization on offer, since there are only three sizes and one font available. Other formatting options are quite low too.

However, it is through collaborative work that Paper shines. Multiple people can edit a document on the interface at once, with everyone’s contributions specifically high-lighted along the margin. The service tries to facilitate multiple members working on a project, though, not necessarily for a single task.

Files can be shared with everyone, while coding done straight from the web-app. Users can add to-do lists or “@” mention other users individually. Videos and audios can be embedded from sites like YouTube and SoundCloud. The plan is to create an environment where multiple users use a single hub of information to carry out multiple, related tasks while sharing progress with others. Items can be kept private for personal use, too. Oh, and there are stickers, too.

Work today is really fragmented. It happens across multiple content types — be it images, code, tables, even tasks. I might be working on PowerPoint. Someone else may be writing code, another in Google Docs — teams have really wanted a single surface to bring all of those ideas into a single place. – Product Manager, Matteus Pan

We don’t yet know when this service will be available to the common Joe. Whether it is successful in turning over people from Google Docs and Office remains to be seen, but if the idea works as well as planned, then certainly people (and we) will be taking notice. From what we’ve heard, it does look promising.