Be productive without email
In short, Quip is better than Google Docs because its unique combination of communication and writing enables your team to be productive without email. Quip is as much about communication as it is about documents, and that is a fundamentally different (and more important) value proposition than Google Docs.
The most popular types of documents in Quip aren't “documents” at all: they're team task lists, applicant tracking systems in spreadsheets, or brainstorming whiteboards for design teams. They're long-lived, inclusive, communication-centric, and they don't revolve around email — people are communicating directly inside of and around the document instead of sending email.
In contrast, the workflow of Google Docs still fundamentally revolves around Gmail. How do you talk about a Google Doc? Send an email. How do you find your old Google Doc? Search Gmail for the link. Where does that Google Doc “live”? In that Gmail thread. Google modernized the Office experience by hosting it in the cloud and supporting simultaneous editing, but the product does not actually change the core workflow of Office. In essence, Google Apps has replaced the file attachment with a hyperlink, but your team is still going to be drowning in email.
To put some concrete stats behind how different the two products are in practice: at Instacart, one of Quip's earliest customers, over 60% of the Quip documents created a year ago are still actively being used today (hear about it in their own words). These aren't documents at all. They aren't written by one person and shared with another. They are never “published” and never “done.” They are new experience and a more productive workflow for teams. That's why we call them living documents.
It works better
Teams keep using Quip because it represents a meaningful, new way of getting work done. But a lot of people start using Quip instead of Google Docs because it just works better. Among other things:
Native Desktop Apps — Quip has beautiful native apps for Windows and Mac. All your documents work offline or online. You don't need to “mark for offline,” install plugins, or bang your head against the seat in front of you waiting for the in-flight wifi to download 2 bits per second. It just works — instantly with no loading indicators.
(Way) Better Mobile Experience — Every Quip feature works on Apple and Android phones and tablets, from the most mundane editing feature to spreadsheet formulas. Quip’s mobile experience is an order of magnitude more polished and more complete than Google Docs.
Better Organization — The culture of Quip is revolves around shared folders. Quip documents have a clear “home” in your team's folders and are always easy to find and get back to. Most Google customers say this is their favorite part of Quip because their Google Docs all existed only in the ether of “the cloud” and they had to rely on search to find anything.