Dropbox Paper is No Google Docs Killer

  • 2-Feb-2017

Dropbox announced its note taking application called Paper has emerged from beta. You and your colleagues can use Dropbox Paper to co-author content in realtime. Paper is localized in 21 languages and will soon support mobile devices and offline sync. Paper is interesting, but is Dropbox a bit late to the party?

Who Else is There?

There are several tools that provide authoring capabilities. Box has offered Box Notes for quite some time and recently released an update. There’s Zoho Writer, Quip (which Salesforce has acquired), Evernote, Google Docs, O365, and many more. All of these provide varying capabilities for co-authoring documents, light-weight collaboration, and mobile access. Some also provide advanced capabilities like ability to use workflows and tasks, version management, search and so forth.

Dropbox Paper
Dropbox Paper: Snazzy, but how useful?

Notes != Documents

I’ve heard several people say Dropbox Paper (and Box Notes) is taking on Google Docs and Office 365.

Now there are certainly some commonalities but these note-taking apps are quite different from document creation services like Google Docs. In fact, they serve very different use cases. You can employ these note-taking apps as sort of light-weight collaboration interfaces — to add text, comments, pictures, and even emojis and collaborate with your colleagues. This is very useful for tasks like planning a meeting, building an event plan, or brainstorming a document outline. In fact, as the name suggests Dropbox Paper and Box Notes are good for activities that you could do using a single sheet of paper.

But if an activity requires 50 sheets of paper, or you need more sophisticated features such as linking from one document to another (as with a Wiki), you'll want to look elsewhere — and that’s where full-fledged services such as O365 are more useful.

We’ve said this before: File Sharing and Sync services have a limited potential as stand-alone services, especially in an enterprise context. Dropbox has been adding new features to stay relevant in that environment, and this application is one of those features targeted at enterprise teams.  Just understand Paper for what it really is.

For more information, RSG covers several collaboration products as well as file-sharing and sync services, many of whom provide similar capabilities. For a deep dive on Box vs. Google vs. SharePoint, check out today's webinar.


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