Dropbox is taking its collaborative, Google Docs-like tool, called Notes, which has been in beta since earlier this year, and renaming it Paper while also expanding the beta, though you still need an invite to try it.
As part of the web app's expansion, the company has lifted the curtain on a few new Paper features as well as revealed how the update interface looks and works, according to Engadget. From what we can tell, Paper is a minimalistic text editor. There's just one font and three font sizes to choose from, for instance, and formatting is very limited.
You can bold, italicize, underline, strikethrough, block quote, and that's about it. Dropbox wants you to use Paper for collaborating and sharing rather than creating fancy documents. With that in mind, Paper is like Google Docs in that multiple people can simultaneously edit a document. Each person has their own coloured cursor, even.
Screenshots of the new web app show that it supports "@" mentions, and a user's full name appears in the margin next to their contribution, which makes the whole thing seem like a chat room of sorts - especially because Paper lets you share almost anything and richly displays all media added to the document, including video links from the web.
As far as text goes, you can add everything from to-do lists to coding, with the latter being automatically and properly formatted. And if you want to share a URL, Paper will serve up a preview of that link within the document. It'll even convert YouTube links to full video players and display previews of Microsoft Office and Google Docs files.
Paper will display anything, in fact. You can drag and drop a photo into a document, and then expand that photo to full-bleed or create a mini gallery with it or wrap text around it, etc. You can embed audio files and playlists from streaming services like Spotify, and as if that wasn't enough, you can use Paper's own stickers as emoji.
In order to keep track of different types of content within a single document, or even multiple documents at once, Paper has various features that allow you to easily access documents, sort them into folders, and share them with others. There's also a deep-search feature that not only lets you look for content in documents but also user names.
A handy "following" feed shows a chronological activity on files you own and files that have been shared with you. If you ask us, Paper seems like Google Docs but with a Slack chat room combined. You can use it to communicate with people and share interesting stuff with them, or you can use it to aid team work and create basic documents.
It seems like in the coming months Dropbox will mostly want you to use Paper for organising and sharing all your files in one place instead of your actual Dropbox cloud storage account. The new service will keeps things from getting messy and yet it is rich enough to support proper messaging as well as creation and collaboration.
There's no word yet on when Paper will officially launch, but Dropbox is now prepping a full-fledged app for it.