To meet the collaborative requirements of businesses and enterprises, Dropbox has launched its much anticipated Dropbox Paper, a business-focused collaboration tool. For the uninitiated, Dropbox Paper was initially announced back in 2015 and is now finally out of beta. Dropbox Paper is free to download and is available as a web app for browsers and on mobile platforms including iOS and Android.
For those who have never used Dropbox, the file-hosting service allows its users to store almost all formats of files in the cloud. On a simpler note, Dropbox is just another folder on your computer in which you can store your data and files. The advantage of Dropbox is all files and data are automatically synchronized with any other device linked to your Dropbox account. This lets you access all your files from any device that has Dropbox installed. Using Dropbox, you can instantly share files, photos, and videos with your friends and can also access all your data from a web browser.
Dropbox is efficient and offers one of the simplest user interfaces. It has become a widely used cloud-based file-hosting service. However, in its initial days, it lacked the ability to edit files online, so it fell behind in the race with market giants such as Google Drive and Microsoft’s OneDrive for widespread adoption in businesses. Additionally, Dropbox, which started mainly as a tool for everyday users, fell short in serving the enterprise world, which needs better tools to work simultaneously and requires higher security for confidential data.
But Dropbox has been squarely focused on making a dent in the business world, especially since it launched Dropbox Business in 2013. This focus led to Dropbox Paper.
What is Dropbox Paper?
Dropbox Paper is not a standalone product; you'll need a Dropbox account to use it. Paper provides its users with a platform that lets you create, organize, and review content in a collaborative manner. Moreover, it supports multiple file formats, including Microsoft Word and Excel files and files generated by Google Docs and Google Sheets.
Using Paper, you can create notes, to-do lists, and can work in a collective environment by assigning tasks to every individual in a team. You can sync Google calendar with Paper and can plan or share notes automatically based on the scheduled dates. Editing documents simultaneously is made easy with Paper, and it comes with a chat room to stay in touch with the team while working.
All the files in your workspace can be organized into folders or projects, and each of these projects can be assigned to different users. All these assigned users can then access and control these projects through Paper’s Smart Sync feature. It enables teams to work in a more organized manner without the need for any additional management tools. Smart Sync also lets you manage your storage space more efficiently by providing common access to all the files stored in the cloud and the files that are synced locally.
Is Dropbox Paper really ideal for business?
What makes Paper a choice for businesses is its collaborative abilities. All you need to do is add the members of the team that you want to have access to edit files in the project area. Once this is done, you can start creating or editing files with your teammates simultaneously. Paper also lets you add comments, notify other team members using “@mentioning,” and more.
As far as security is concerned, Paper can be used along with a Dropbox Business account to get added security features to secure sensitive business data. These security features will let you choose an admin, who will have access to the entire project area. One can also manage content sharing and permission assignment to other team members. However, Dropbox Paper as of now is still in its early stages and thus lacks other essential security features such as device approval, full network control, and enterprise mobility management.
Therefore, although Paper provides an intuitive and easy-to-use environment for managing your files and data collaboratively, it is still lacking in some essential aspects of business such as security.
What makes Paper unique?
One of the major aspects that make Dropbox Paper stand out in the segment against the likes of Google Apps and Office 365 is that it supports rich media and code snippets.
One can easily add a video or a music file in a Paper document either by copy pasting the URL or by dragging and dropping the file. Dropbox Paper supports a long list of rich media embeds including Dropbox files, SlideShare, Instagram, Twitter, Spotify, YouTube, and more.
This approach from Paper gives it an upper hand over its rivals in terms of creating dynamic documents embedded with rich media. Moreover, you can add code snippets directly to your Paper docs, making it handy for developers.
- File sharing is very transparent and straightforward.
- Very intuitive and easy to use.
- Supports rich media and code snippets to create dynamic documents.
- Comes with an built-in task management tool.
- Exporting content to other formats is limited.
- Accessible only if you're online.
Dropbox Paper is a very lightweight cloud-based collaboration tool that meets most business requirements. It is easy-to-use and packs in several features such as dynamic documentation that even Google Docs and Office 365 fail to provide. However, it still has its own limitations and lacks several essential features such as security and constant support, which are a must, especially for businesses. However, we can expect the Dropbox Paper to evolve and get better with updates.