Dropbox Paper Challenges Evernote, Google Keep, Zoho Notebook, OneNote and Other Cloud-Connected Note-Taking Products

This is an article I published last August. At the time, the program was still in beta. I have been using it occasionally and find it is a simple word processor but also one that works well. Today, Dropbox took the program out of beta test status and is now supporting it fully. Therefore, I decided to republish the article. If you are looking for a FREE word processor, you might want to use the one you already have: Dropbox Paper.

Evernote has long been one of the best note-taking apps for use by genealogists and by millions of others. I have been a big Evernote fan for years and still am. However, Evernote recently increased the prices of its Plus and Premium versions. Evernote Basic remains available free of charge but is now limited to two devices per account, like a computer and a phone, two computers, or a phone and a tablet. Bummer! (See my earlier article at https://goo.gl/n0v4qa for the details.)

Many Evernote users were disappointed by the news and have since looked for replacement programs. See my article about one possible replacement at https://goo.gl/EwKVFN while others are switching to Microsoft’s OneNote (see https://goo.gl/deGfCZ). Now a new candidate from a well-known vendor is entering the marketplace.

Dropbox has long been a very popular cloud-based file storage service. Most Dropbox users find it is an excellent service for making backup copies of files as well as copying (or “replicating”) those files amongst multiple computers, such as keeping the same files at all times on both your your desktop and laptop computers. The same files also can be retrieved on an iPad, iPhone, Android device, Windows Phone, or even on a Kindle Fire. Now Dropbox is adding a new trick that appears to be aimed at enticing Evernote users to switch to Dropbox’s new service.

dropbox-paperDropbox Paper is a brand-new offering that is still in beta testing but available to anyone who would like to try it. In it’s simplest form, Dropbox Paper is a note-taking application built into the Dropbox file storage and replication service. It is designed for note taking and it (optionally) replicates copies of those notes to the owner’s Windows computers, Macintosh computers, iPad, iPhone, and Android devices. All the notes are also available on any computer by opening a web browser and going to the Dropbox Paper web site. Does this sound like Evernote? You bet it does! I doubt if that is a coincidence.

Dropbox is also making a play for corporate users, again competing with Evernote. Dropbox Paper is cloud-connected so that your group can meet up in the same document and at the same time, regardless of where all team members are located or what devices they are currently using. Team members can enrich shared pages with lists, blocks of code, and embedded media. They can even embed Dropbox documents in your pages.

Dropbox Paper displays all related mentions, comments, shares and other notifications in a neat little list. That list and its associated pages can all file into folders, which you can sort by team or topic.

This is a huge part of how Dropbox is “reimagining the way people work together,” said Christina Cacioppo, Paper product manager. “Dropbox Paper is built to help fast-moving teams organize all their team’s knowledge in a single place, creating a home for their projects.”

Downsides

Dropbox Paper is still in beta. It probably is still a bit buggy so if you try it please do not be surprised if you encounter a few bugs or if all the features are not yet enabled. I have tried it briefly and it does look good.

I will caution you, however, thatDropbox Paper does not yet seem to have much security. I’m using it for my recipes and for other non-secret items. However, I wouldn’t use Dropbox Paper just yet for anything sensitive, such as my credit card information, bank account info, or anything else I would like to keep private.

Dropbox’s security reportedly is not as good as that of some of its competitors. You can learn more at http://tiptopsecurity.com/is-dropbox-safe-to-use-how-dropbox-works-to-secure-your-files-online/ although that article was written before Dropbox Paper was announced this week.

In contrast, Evernote has excellent security, especially if you use the “Encrypted Text Within a Note” option. For details, see https://evernote.com/security/ and especially scroll down to the “Encrypted Text Within a Note” section.

Alternatively, you can use a competing service like SpiderOak which does not have the capability for anyone else to see your data as long as you’re using the SpiderOak client you installed on your computer. SpiderOak and Tresorit seem to have the best security of all the cloud-based file storage services. However, those two services do not yet offer note-taking applications.

Summation

Dropbox Paper looks like it may become a strong (and FREE or low-cost) competitor to Evernote. You might want to try it now to see for yourself. However, if you don’t want to deal with beta software, you might want to wait a few months before trying it.

Dropbox Paper may be found at https://www.dropbox.com/paper.

The Dropbox Paper FAQs (frequently-asked questions) may be found at https://www.dropbox.com/help/topics/paper.

4 Comments

Can you assign multiple tags to a single note or article like in Evernote?

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Is this another USA-only product?

As a paid-up Dropbox Pro user from Australia, this is what I see when I click on the link in your article:

We’re sorry, you can’t access Paper right now. Contact someone on your account team for more info.

John

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An important feature of any Evernote replacement would be – can it import Evernote notes? Otherwise it would be a pain to change apps. Thanks for evaluating these.

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It doesn’t look like Dropbox Paper will be free given the subscription tiers Dropbox has listed. It can be tried for free for 30 days. But no permanently free low-feature option is presented.

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