Talking tech since 2003

This morning Bret Taylor and Kevin Gibbs announced the launch of Quip, a productivity software company.  The company’s first product is a mobile-first word processor, which is available for download for iOS (they also have an Android preview)–both are free.  There is also a desktop version of Quip which is completely web-based and integrates very nicely with the app.

“Quip is our perspective on how modern, mobile documents should work. We’ve re-thought everything — from the user interface to the underlying technology — to create the product that we want to use to get work done every day.”

This is how a Quip document would look when collaborating with others.

Writing is often a very collaborative process, Quip has simplified and refined the way in which we collaborate with others while writing a document.  To do that, Quip combines documents and messages into a single chat-like “thread” of updates.  Everyone can edit the same document — no matter what device you’re on — and don’t have to bounce back and forth to email to talk about it.

As I had mentioned before, Quip works on the desktop, but it really shines on phones and tablets. Quip documents automatically format to the size of your screen — no more pinch zooming just to read a document–everyone say it with me, “FINALLY!”  The product also works offline, syncing whenever you have an Internet connection.

One of perhaps my favorite things about Quip is the fact you can easily @mention people within a document and can even link between documents — that’s a pretty cool feature. Quip also lets you easily insert tables, images, and headings.  You can also copy and paste content from websites into Quip and keep the formatting.

When you use Quip it’s really simple to make sure you’re always in the loop and aware of all the latest changes to a document.  Similar to track changes in Word, Document edits, or “diffs,” are added to the thread, which succinctly and visually tells you exactly what has been changed. When you’re working with others or checking in from your phone, diffs make it easy to stay up to date, without having to re-read the whole document.

Quip also has built-in notifications for when people make changes to a document or open it for the first time.  So when changes are made, you will receive a push notification on your smartphone and/or tablet, likewise for when you send a document to someone for review and they open it for the first time.

While Quip is free for personal use, the company also offers a business version of the service which includes more users and other features such as remote device management, single sign-on, and a user admin console.  Pricing for that starts at $12/month per user.

So far, I’m impressed with Quip — it’s definitely a great new take on word processing, I plan to continually test it out and see where they go from here.  It seems like the company plans to take on the productivity suite industry head on, “We are starting with the word processor, but our mission is to eventually build the productivity suite for the mobile era,” the co-founders wrote in the blog post announcing Quip.  While it’s a tough challenge, a solid product offering may be just what the company needs to succeed — and they are definitely off to a good start.

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