Dropbox has just entered the competitive space of online collaboration software, and it hopes to overcome its late start with a simple, intuitive tool called Paper.
Currently in private beta, Dropbox’s Paper is part Google Docs and part Slack, which just goes to show you how late the company is — describing a new product with an already ubiquitous competitor is never a sure sign of success.
However, considering many of us use Dropbox on a daily basis, the company already has our loyalty; it’s a possibility that many users will move to Paper just to avoid yet another sign-in.
Paper is a web-only app that you can connect to via your Dropbox account, with a mobile version on the way (after the beta). According to Engadget’s preview, Paper looks pretty bare-bones, with only one font and three font sizes available for now. However, you can collaborate on a document quite easily with other Dropbox users, whose edits to each document are presented in a different color (with the user’s full name displayed nearby).
The idea is to let users share almost anything, no matter what tools they’re using.
You can add to-do lists and assign team members to a task, type lines of code (which will be properly formatted as code), and even paste in URLs of other files from both Dropbox and Google Docs/Drive, letting you peek at Excel or PowerPoint files within the Paper document itself — a first from the two competitors.
You can drop in photos from your desktop, creating mini-galleries or full-bleed images with ease. Want to add YouTube videos? Just drop the link into a Paper document and it will create a full video player for you — same thing with Spotify or SoundCloud links. Oh, and there are even stickers (ugh) so you can comment with big cartoons.
Ultimately, Paper — like similar new collaborative tool Pingpad — will live or die on its ease of use and usefulness to people that probably already use Google’s or Microsoft’s products. If you want to request an invite, head over to the Paper page and log in with your current Dropbox account.