THE CREATOR of the Facebook Like button is taking on technology giants Microsoft and Google and their respective productivity suites, Microsoft Office and Google Docs, by rolling out social features to his co-founded word processor and messaging system, Quip.
Quip is a word processor that's free to use and enables users to create documents on a range of devices, including phones, tablets and desktop PCs, and is "optimised for screen as opposed to the printed page".
Like button inventor and ex-Facebook CTO Bret Taylor teamed up with Kevin Gibbs, the founder of Google App Engine, to launch Quip seven months ago.
"Our goal as a company is to do essentially what Microsoft Office did to the PC era, we'd like to do for the mobile era," Taylor told The INQUIRER.
"[We] essentially work on the corporate activity application that people use every day but rethought for a day and age where everyone has a laptop, smartphone and a tablet and try to imagine what an office suite might look like in that new environment."
Quip is different from standard office or productivity software as it is integrated with social elements, such as an inline messaging service alongside documents, due what Taylor says is the growing connectivity of devices and people.
"We think of ourselves as a productivity product reimaged for the era of mobile devices and the reason why there's so much communication built into [it] is because we believe that as people become connected to the internet and have these devices in their pockets all day, the communication around what we make is just as or even more important than the document."
Taylor said that his background experience at Facebook influenced ideas in the development of Quip, which is especially evident with a new feature being rolled out to the software today - the integration of a Facebook-inspired Like button.
The Like button in Quip allows users to collaborate more easily on documents with a single click, telling friends or colleagues that they appreciate what they've done.
"One of the most popular ways to use Quip is a shared check list - a document with a bunch of items that need to be done - and every time you check off something and finish a task, your colleagues can [now] 'like' it and you get that sense of team comradery," Taylor added.
"I think that a lot of our team design philosophy is that the products you use to get work done should be as fun to use as the products you use outside of work.
"The Like button it seems small but to us it really represents what we want our product to look like relative to our legacy competitors."
In addition to introducing 'Like' functionality, Quip 1.7 also sees the introduction of a few other new features including a comments and highlighting feature, which allows users to highlight a specific part of a document and have a conversation about it with peers.
When someone leaves a comment in the document, a message bubble in the margin appears, and the comment thread can be read on desktop, tablet, or phone. Once Quip is installed on a phone, notifications appear every time someone leaves a comment, and users can respond without leaving the document.
There's also a new "document versioning" tool in Quip 1.7, which lets users click on any previous point of an article to restore the document to a previous version, no matter how long ago the document changed.
Quip 1.7 also marks the rollout of four new, professionally designed 'themes' for Quip, including typefaces from Commercial Type. It is available on a license basis for businesses and the enterprise.
Taylor launched the Like button in 2007 at a company he started called Friendfeed, as a lightweight way to acknowledge people's posts. Facebook rolled out the feature in 2009 once it had acquired Friendfeed, making it a universal gesture among Facebook users. µ
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