Quip is an odd new app that looks like it could be incredibly useful. It’s billed as a word processor, but it combines text editing with instant messaging, change tracking and sharing — plus it has a very cool interface.
Oh, and it works on your iPhone, your iPad and your Mac (in the browser).
Just as a plain old one-person document editor, Quip looks good. An extra keyboard row lets you add pictures, links to other documents, tables, and people (yeah, adding people makes it less of a one-person document editor, but still). You can also add lists with checkboxes.
Once you add people, though, things get fancy. Each document becomes a thread, shared by anyone who you’ve added. The thread contains comments they make, and any edits that are made to the document. The thread is presented in a sidebar next to the main document, and you can use this sidebar as a chatroom at the same time.
Your documents can be organized into folders, which are represented on-screen along with readable thumbnails of the documents. There’s an in-line search on document titles, but no full-text search on documents. Not on iOS, at least.
It’s all incredibly slick for a first version. The obvious use case is for people who work together, bridging the edits and chat threads together with the documents. But it could also be good for a couple organizing a vacation, or looking for a new home. You could put all your family stuff in there and share the relevant parts with the relevant family members: timetables and schedules, cleaning rosters, whatever.
Sometimes I go out looking for an app to solve a problem I have. Other times a new app comes along that fixes something, and I take to it right away. Quip is the third kind of app, the kind which is so neat and so well designed that I start finding all kinds of new ways to use it. All I need is for Killian and the rest of the CoM team to answer my sharing requests…
Quip is free