Paper is like a mixture of Google Docs, Evernote, and Basecamp, the popular project management tool.
Dropbox is testing a note-taking tool called Paper, which allows users to create notes and collaborate with other people in the cloud, sending an ominous sign to the big players like Evernote, Google Docs, Slack, and Basecamp. The new feature, which is currently in invite-only beta, is seen as the most significant feature released to date, a move that transitions Dropbox from being a file-sharing service to an online collaboration platform.
Dropbox starting testing a note-taking application in April, calling it Dropbox Notes. It seems that the name has been shelved in favor of a simpler name. “Paper felt appropriately wide-ranging,” said Matteus Pan, Product Manager at Dropbox. “We love the name because physical paper is simple, it’s flexible, it’s a creative service.” The collaboration tool is accessible on the web, but Dropbox is launching mobile apps when it comes out of beta.
Paper is like a mixture of Google Docs, Evernote, and Basecamp, the popular project management tool. It has a minimalistic design, preserving Dropbox’s aesthetic, and support for Markdown and basic formatting. Paper also supports drag and drop and stickers and emojis. Multiple users can work on a document. Collaborators are represented by cursors showing their name next to their work. You can add comments, too.
Dropbox takes it further by adding the capability to paste images, videos, and even lines of code. Paper will automatically convert the links into previews. For example, YouTube links will appear as embedded videos and SoundCloud files as embedded audio files. Users can also assign tasks to other people by using the “@” or the “at” sign, and paste URLs from YouTube, SoundCloud, and multimedia platforms.
"Work today is really fragmented," said product manager Matteus Pan. "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." Dropbox didn’t say when it plans to roll out Paper officially.
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