Dropbox Wants to Take on Google Docs... Good Luck!

By Darren Orf on at

You probably know Dropbox for one thing, and one thing only: storing shit. Maybe you’ve used its acquired Mailbox app or even Carousel, but storing photos, videos, spreadsheets, or other digital ephemera is what Dropbox is known for. Now the company wants to expand — into Google Docs territory.

Dropbox is rolling out an online collaboration tool called Paper, which is basically a minimalist’s Google Docs.

Dropbox actually announced a new beta a few months back called Notes that was supposed to be an online note-taking tool, but it never escaped beta. Fast-forward six months later, and Paper is the next generation of that idea. But unlike cloud storage — which Dropbox helped define when it launched in 2008 — online collaboration tools like Google Docs, Microsoft Office, and even Slack already have a pretty significant footing.

Hey, I understand. Don’t knock it until you try it. But describing the challenge ahead of Dropbox as “herculean” might even be an understatement.

However, there are some interesting ideas here. For one, Paper gives almost any link imaginable a small preview inline, including Office and Google Docs links. And that seems to be Paper’s big selling point—be a hub for all your disparate work documents, funnelled into one convenient place.

For now, the editing tools seem pretty basic with a limited amount of font sizes and tools available, like many minimalist note-taking apps out there. Managers can also delegate tasks to co-collaborators and see a running timeline of work being done on a certain document, according to Engadget.

Paper still has lots of development work to do, including a dedicated mobile app, and its current iteration will only be available to “a few thousand teams,” says Wired. You can sign up for a spot on the waitlist, but when that wait will actually end is still uncertain.