Short takes: Peerio announces encrypted productivity suite, Quip improves onboarding

Nadim Kobeissi has announced Peerio, a secure messaging and file sharing solution, which encrypts email and files in transit and in the cloud.

Many people have responded to recent cyberhacking — like the Sony mess — with the desire to have a more secure infrastructure for corporate communications, and Kobeissi is responding to that demand. Peerio is joining a hot marketplace, as Andy Greenberg points out in Wired:

Peerio is just one of a wave of crypto apps that have appeared in the past year that seek to make encryption easier. In June, Google announced End-to-End, a PGP-like plugin for Gmail that it plans to release in 2015. The non-profit developer group Open Whisper Systems in July released Signal, the first encrypted-calling app for the iPhone, to match its Android counterpart known as Redphone. And in November, Whatsapp integrated Open Whisper Systems’ Textsecure encrypted instant messaging into its Android client, switching on encrypted messaging by default for hundreds of millions of users. All of those new apps are intended to make encrypting communication as simple as writing an email, calling someone or texting a friend.

The product provides remote file destruction for files that users may want to disappear after being read. There is a built in acknowledgement capability, so recipients can indicate they’ve read something. The service claims to make large file transfers quick and easy — I have not substantiated any of these assertions.

Peerio is now available for Mac, Chrome, and Windows, and soon will be available for iOS and Android.

Quip, the popular productivity suite, has added some smart import capabilities. One of the problems with adopting new tools — especially for teams — is the difficulties involved in moving from an existing solution. Quip has now added a number of new import solutions beyond the ability to import files from Dropbox, Box, and Google Drive. They added import capabilities from Evernote and Evernote Business, Hackpad, and Basecamp.

I had briefly tried using Hackpad as a personal information management solution last year, so I thought I’d import that into Quip as an experiment. I had to get my Hackpad API keys, and then give Quip Import administrative rights, but the end result is that all my Hackpads are now sitting in Quip:

Screenshot 2015-01-14 16.12.02

Another example of how small and obvious affordances make the transition to new tools easier.

I have far too much information stored in Google Drive and Dropbox to contemplate moving, personally, or to even consider experimenting with the import to Quip, but for teams that want Quip’s style of contextual conversation, these import tools could prove to be a godsend.