The last few years have seen Dropbox expand from its core cloud-synced storage offering to tackle other key components of the online life with its Mailbox email apps and Carousel photo storage app. Now, it looks like the company is getting ready to add another new product to its roster — yesterday, Dropbox quietly opened up a beta test for Dropbox Notes, a collaborative note-taking service. A sign-up page for the beta went live but offers few details beyond the goal of building "a new way for teams to write together." A quick screenshot shows an interface that closely resembles Google Docs, with clear indicators showing multiple people working on editing a text document.
There's no word yet on when this might launch or if it'll only be available to businesses who are signed up for Dropbox, but it's entirely possible this offering won't be consumer-focused. The beta signup page asks you to put in what company you work for, but Dropbox says that anyone is free to sign up for the beta, regardless of whether they work for a business that uses Dropbox.
This comes a few weeks after the first evidence of a new Dropbox note-taking platform came to light — as noted by TechCrunch, Dropbox Notes appears to be born out of the Hackpad service Dropbox purchased a year ago. Some users on Product Hunt found a way into a Dropbox-hosted tool called "Project Composer" but access was quickly closed down.
The latest new market Dropbox is going after
Regardless of its origin, expanding into collaborative notes makes a lot of sense for Dropbox — the company has long been trying to solve the problem of keeping Microsoft Office files shared between users in sync, with the most recent efforts involving a direct partnership between the two companies. Notes will certainly not be as robust as Word, but it could still be a good simple tool for collaborators to use without having to worry about version history.
Still, there are already a host of collaboration services out there, so whether or not Notes will take off remains to be seen. The last major, established market Dropbox tried to enter was photos with its Carousel app, but it remains a service that hasn't really got any major traction in the face of strong competition from Google, Facebook, Flickr, Apple, and a host of other players.