Collaboration is never easy. I should probably clarify and say that online collaboration is never easy. Whether you are using Microsoft Word for tracking edits and emailing back and forth, or Google Docs online collaboration, things often get messy. It is time consuming and frustrating to click back and forth to your email and back to the page being edited, you repeatedly have to go back and re-read the comments, ask what they meant and try really, really hard not to accidentally edit an older version of the page undoing hours of work.
At least this is what Bret Taylor, (the former CTO of Facebook), and Kevin Gibbs, (the engineer behind Google’s Apps Engine), felt was the issue they would tackle to create the optimum word processing collaboration service. They designed a new service , called Quip, that is specifically designed for file sharing and collaboration. Quip is even available offline and all changes are updated automatically when you go back online. Additionally, you can work on a document and at the same time track the changes your colleague is making, live. What Taylor and Gibbs felt would give them an edge, is that you can message your colleagues on the same screen as the file you are both editing. “There is no need to bounce back and forth between a document and email,” said Taylor.
Additionally, they critiqued the Microsoft model as being outdated, due to the fact that it is optimized for editing for printing. Therefore, they specially designed the layout to be optimized to computers and digital devices according to their specific screen sizes, whether it’s an iPhone, Android phone or tablet, or an iPad. Taylor continued, “Software like Office has been optimized for the printed page. But this is outmoded. So Quip is optimized for the screen size of your device.”
Taylor and Gibbs founded Quip in 2012. They have previously worked together at Google, and have contributed to a number of well known services including: Google Maps, Google App Engine and Facebook. Together they have collected a small team of 16 people to create this online word processing workspace. To date, Quip has already received $15 million in venture capital funding.