By Jef Cozza / Data Storage Today. Updated January 31, 2017.
Already a major player in enterprise file sharing and hosting, Dropbox is launching a public version of its new Paper service to make a name for itself among collaborative productivity suite providers such as Google Docs and Microsoft's Office 365.
Paper, which has been available in beta since last year, is aiming to win converts from the big names in the space with a user interface that the company said makes collaboration between coworkers easier. The cloud-based platform will allow users to manage shared documents by assigning different tasks and deadlines to various collaborators.
Making Collaboration Easier
The service also includes a variety of features designed to make collaboration between team members easier, no matter where in the world they're located. A Paper app is coming to iOS and Android devices to enable users to work on documents even while offline.
The Web interface, meanwhile, is currently available in 21 languages, an important feature for multi-lingual teams. These new capabilities join other recent additions such as presentation mode, a feature that turns documents into presentation slides and integration with Google Calendar to make it easier for teams to create and share notes.
Paper has already reached early enterprise adopters such as InVision, Ben & Jerry's, Shopify, Campaign Monitor, Getaround and Patreon, according to Dropbox. But the company appears to be positioning Paper to steal market share away from Google Docs and Microsoft Office 365.
New Business Plans
Going head-to-head with such well-established players will likely be a tall order. To help make Paper more attractive to its enterprise clients, Dropbox is also making its file hosting environment more enterprise-friendly. The latest version of the Web interface, which was released in conjunction with Paper, is more streamlined and potentially easier to navigate.
Dropbox has also introduced a new feature that allows users to see others on their teams who have viewed their shared files and when. The company is pitching the tool as a way to help cut down on unnecessary delays while working on projects.
"With the ability to track what happens after you click 'Share,' you can cut down on follow-up emails and keep projects moving forward," the company said yesterday in a statement. The new feature is being gradually rolled out to Dropbox Business teams through the company's early access program.
"In today's workplace, people spend 61 percent of their time managing work rather than doing it," according to Dropbox "That's the equivalent of three days a week searching for information, slogging through emails, and navigating teamwork." The new features on Paper are aimed at reducing those rates, the company said.
At the same time, Dropbox is also introducing new subscriptions for its business clients. The standard business plan priced at $12.50 per month per user offers two terabytes of storage and collaborative tools, while a $20 advanced subscription includes additional administration tools.