I posted about Google Docs last week and as usual related things started to grab my attention. Google Operating System blog had posted How Google Docs Killed GDrive, referring to the story from the book how Google killed mythical GDrive in favor of Google Docs and dragging us all into cloud future.
What files are
There are probably loads of more smart or more correct definitions, but I particularly like this one:
File is named space on storage.
This is where it all came from. You store something and you name it. If you don’t store it – you lose it. If you don’t name it – you lose it.
You can’t outperform a file
Files, being ancient ancient and omnipresent concept, received a lot of thought and a lot of attention over the years. Dealing with files is fast. Dealing with files on decent modern hardware is ridiculously fast. The idea that something over network, computer behind that network, database on that computer and (wait for it) file with data of that database… That all of that might possibly be as performant as local file is against common sense.
You can’t outdesign a file
Long time readers might have noticed that I am instantly distrustful of software with custom interfaces. Doing something from scratch and without regards to the past is usually driven by arrogance that you can do better than those before you. While something nice does come out of that on rare occasions, most of the time result is personalized atrocity that does less than predecessors and does it worse.
The bigger the concept is, the more smart people had a part, the more years had passed and inertia gathered… The less likely that you can deprecate it on a whim.
You can’t discard compatibility with files
Guess what do I see every time I need to send or receive something considerable large and/or complex in Gmail… Yep – attachment icon. Imagine logging in to your email service of choice and reading “Hey, you can no longer send or receive attachments! But you are going to like it!”. Changing email service in 3-2-1… You do have umbrella domain address you have full control over, right?
Guess what do I need to do when I need to print document in Google Docs… I need to save it as PDF file! So much for file killer.
The idea of deprecating files belongs to that part of cloud hype that is either stupid or insincere (nothing personal we just to want to make money on you by shoving fluff down your throat). The Dropbox strives on simple concept of letting you do a bit more with your files. Google Docs is deploying one take after another, trying to take files away from you.
Any bets on when Gmail stops supporting attachments? Heh.