In the world of cloud computing, Dropbox is almost immediately recognizable, like Pepsi or Coke but with cloud storage. This is because Dropbox has been around with a cloud storage option for years and quite a bit longer than most options out there. This makes it easy to think of Dropbox as just a cloud storage service, but the team at Dropbox is no one-trick pony, as today they just announced their next offering called ‘Paper’; a document service/web app which looks as if it’s set to take on the likes of Google Docs, Microsoft Word and other document apps.
So what exactly is Paper? It’s a web app that lets you create and edit documents, more than that, though, it has collaboration features that allow your Dropbox contacts to work on and edit those documents alongside you in real-time, just like with Google Docs. At the moment, Paper isn’t actually available and you can only access it by being a current Dropbox user and signing up for the wait list. There is unfortunately no information detailing how long the wait list already is or how long it will be before Dropbox opens Paper up to those wishing to test it out. It’s quite possible though it could still easily be a few weeks or more since the announcement was just this morning, and with no idea of how large the wait list is currently it wouldn’t be a bad idea to hop on it as soon as possible.
When compared to apps like Docs, Dropbox Paper doesn’t feature the same Rich Text options like formatting, so that may be an immediate drawback for some users as you would need to use something like Docs to get the format done, which almost defeats the purpose of not starting things in Docs in the first place. Still, there are some benefits like the ability to add pictures and videos quickly and easily since you’re already in Dropbox where they may be stored. If you use Dropbox for storing all of or most of your files, pictures, videos etc., this is likely a strong point for you. What’s more, is that inserting these is done by searching for and sharing a Dropbox link of those media files with the Dropbox Paper document, and the app will transform them into their proper state for you automatically, although Dropbox Paper doesn’t limit this ability to media stored in your own Dropbox account and will also do the same thing for videos and other media found on YouTube and other sites.
If you’re planning on using this for work with colleagues, or for school with other people you happen to be working on a project with, there’s a couple of communication tools built in like mentioning people so they receive a notification and the ability to leave feedback on documents via comments. Overall Dropbox Paper is a little more limiting in terms creation and editing tools, but it should serve a purpose for those who need or want something more simplistic.