Dropbox announced a note-taking tool called Notes six months ago. The launch was low key and you had to be invited for the beta-test in order to use it. Now the product has been officially branded as Paper. Yes, Paper.
Paper is basic, text wise. The UI is evidently minimalist. There is only one font type and three font sizes available. But font variety is not the focus; functionality and collaboration are. The most important thing for Paper is how teams can work together with many types of documents all in one space. On Paper, you can add to-do lists with check boxes and you can mention ‘@’ members of your team to assign them to tasks.
For years now, I have been working on Google Docs. I type most of my articles and note my ideas there. Google Docs too, thrives on simplicity. I like that I can continue typing and not have to worry about saving. The file saves as I work. I can easily right-click on words and get definitions or research more on them. I don’t have to go to another website or window to do this. With Google Docs, my team members can add comments and make corrections on my work. I can also translate my whole article into any language available on Google Translate, in the same document.
Working with Paper offers something different. Everything can be dragged and arranged easily. To add a YouTube video to Paper you just need to drag the link into the document and it converts into a full video window. Add a link in Paper and the document will format a preview for you. On Google Docs, it just sits there as a link. You can embed audio files and playlists from Spotify or Soundcloud in Paper. In addition to being able to add comments to everything, you can also use stickers to comment on people’s works. Really cool stickers.
The folders and content you create in Paper will be visible to all your team members unless you create private ones. Once you create a document, you will be prompted to put it in a folder. On Google Docs, all documents are stored in a default general folder. You have to move the documents yourself into the folders you want. This particular feature annoys me sometimes, especially when there are so many documents to move. Paper helps you organize your files better than Google Docs does.
On Paper, there’s a “following” feed that lets you see all your documents and the ones you are shared on. It let’s you keep track of all your activities on the platform. Mattheus Pan, Product Manager for Paper, says that the app allows teams collaborate in a way that avoids messy designs and organization.
Looking at the features available on Paper, I would definitely switch from Google Docs when it is finally released. Even with the simple interface, it’s much more fun to use than Google Docs. For me, it will be a welcome development for online team collaboration.