Dropbox has revealed a preview version of a document creation web app called Paper aimed at taking on Google Docs and other similar tools offered by Microsoft and other firms.
Dropbox Paper is designed to allow multiple users to work on documents stored in Dropbox's cloud platform. It is not currently live but those interested can register to be informed when it is available.
Parallels can be drawn between Paper and Google's popular Docs web-based document creation app.
It does not provide much in the way of complex formatting and font options, but does allow users to discuss document edits in the app and gives project managers the ability to create to-do lists and associate members of their teams with certain jobs.
Paper aids the process of collaboration by allowing thorough searches of documents and files shared between people, and enabling previews of the content in shared files.
Users can also opt to receive a feed that tracks the activity on documents and files in chronological order.
The simple interface allows photos to be dragged and dropped into Paper so that small galleries can be created in documents. Full-size, full-bleed images can be expanded from the gallery to fill an entire web browser if desired.
Paper has a few more tricks up its sleeve by allowing code to be formatted automatically, and it creates a preview version of any file stored in a Dropbox account when its URL is pasted into Paper.
The same applies to YouTube videos, playlists from Spotify and audio from SoundCloud, enabling Paper users to add a host of multimedia to documents.
Interestingly, the feature even supports Google Docs files, and is integrated with Google Drive despite the search firm's productivity tools being a direct rival to those offered by Dropbox.
Dropbox described Paper as "the best way for teams to create and work together", but added little more about the new tool on the Dropbox website, instead prompting interested parties to join a waiting list for access to the app.
The beta of Paper is indicative of Dropbox looking to move away from just being the cloud storage company normally associated with its name, to more of a provider of collaboration tools backed up by a cloud platform, not dissimilar to the enterprise-focused rival Box.
But Dropbox is entering a relatively mature market in which Google offers several tried and tested tools and Microsoft is increasingly building out its cloud-based Office 365 productivity tools with collaboration and integration features.
Many standalone tools with mobile device functionality are also on offer from the likes of Evernote, all of which could make it challenging for Dropbox to find its place in the market.
Still, Dropbox recently partnered with Adobe to provide PDF editing in the cloud, and perhaps the company can offer document editing services that set it apart from its rivals.
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