May 29, 2014, 10:40 AM — Quip has revamped its Web and mobile word processor, giving it new publishing and search capabilities, as the startup pushes ahead with its quixotic pursuit to disrupt cloud productivity app rivals like Microsoft and Google.
Quip is also announcing that the product, launched in mid-2013, is in use at about 5,000 companies, including New Relic, Larry H. Miller and Facebook and the social networking company's Instagram unit.
Facebook, Instagram and New Relic, a software analytics company in San Francisco, have deployed Quip to entire staffs, while Larry H. Miller, a large Utah conglomerate, is using it in its IT department.
"We're announcing significant new features for the product, and also that it's gotten traction in the market," said Quip co-founder Bret Taylor, who previously was Facebook CTO, co-founder of FriendFeed and group product manager at Google, where he co-created Google Maps.
The first new feature lets Quip users share a document via a private URL link with others, who will be able to read the document even if they haven't signed up for Quip. Document authors can establish different levels of access to the document, from only viewing it to having full editing capabilities, along with some intermediate options, like allowing recipients to post comments to the document but not edit the text.
To be able to edit the document, people receiving the link would need to register with Quip, but the process would happen within the document interface when accessing Quip from a desktop Web browser. Those getting the link on their mobile device -- iPhone, iPad or Android -- would need to install the Quip app.
The ability to share Quip documents via a link with people who aren't necessarily signed up for it will help accelerate adoption of the product and make it easier for current users to convince colleagues to start using it, according to Taylor.
This approach further supports the way Quip usually enters organizations, which is a bottom-up process, starting with some users at a department level and then spreading organically to other parts of the company, he said.
The other major enhancement to Quip is the addition of a search engine. It finds query terms in the full text of documents and their comments, and it has been specifically designed to work well on mobile devices.
For example, when users tap on the search box on a mobile device, a special keyboard pops up that includes search operators like "from," "to," "mention" and "in" to simplify the narrowing of queries. The search engine also features query auto-complete and auto-suggest capabilities.
"We tried to not just to build a powerful search engine, but also a great interface for mobile devices," Taylor said.