At a press event this morning in San Francisco, Dropbox unveiled a new feature called “Project Harmony” which brings new collaboration tools for Dropbox users while they’re editing documents in Microsoft Office applications including Powerpoint, Word, and Excel.
Project Harmony, which will be launched to users “later this year,” will let Dropbox users see when other people are viewing and editing shared documents, and have discussions about them.
In an onstage presentation, Dropbox CEO Drew Houston said that this should help prevent people from having to create multiple different documents as they pass them back and forth to collaborate — things with names such as “Presentation,” “Presentation 2”, “Presentation 2 Drew’s edits,” and so on. More details about the forthcoming feature are set to be published on Dropbox’s blog this Friday.
On the surface, it seems similar to some of the built-in collaborative functions in Google Documents, or perhaps more accurately, the now defunct Google Wave — but brought by Dropbox, into the Microsoft suite of applications. And there are some impressive aspects to how people can use Harmony: The features can work when two people are working on separate operating systems and on different versions of Microsoft Office or Dropbox.
It’s quite a technological feat, and being that a massive number of enterprises use the Microsoft platform, this could have a huge impact.
According to Dropbox, there are more rollouts of Harmony to come. “We’ve designed this to work with any application so there is a lot more to come,” a Dropbox representative said this morning in an onstage demo of the Harmony features.
Update: This story has been edited to clarify that Project Harmony is not yet available. The feature is set to launch later this year.