I cringe every time I think about how much of my time over the past two decades has been spent worrying about files. Mucking around Window’s File Manager or Mac’s Finder. Copying and backing up files. Losing files. Misplacing files. Desperately trying to organize my files. Promising myself to never save anything on the desktop ever again. Completely filling my desktop with files.
So you can imagine my relief when, in 2005, Steve Jobs predicted that needing to worry about files was going to slowly vanish from our lives “…eventually, the file system management is just gonna be an app for pros and consumers aren’t gonna need to use it.” We’re not there yet, but I think we’re getting there and I see cloud computing taking center stage in the battle.
When I switched to a solid-state drive in my laptop, I lost several hundred gigabytes of storage space but gained blindingly fast boot-up and wake times. The productivity gains alone have been worth the cost of the upgrade, but losing valuable hard drive space has taken some innovative thinking. Instead of storing massive amounts of music on my hard drive, I’ve moved to cloud-based services that let me stream my collection anywhere I go. Instead of storing documents on my hard drive, I’ve begun to move those to the cloud.
All of this has made me worry less and less about my actual files, which has been a good thing. My files are simply everywhere, and if I can’t immediately locate something I need, I know I can rely on the increasingly-powerful search functions built into modern operating systems to find them.
This is what the future will be like — we’ll only need enough storage space on our laptops and tablets to store and run the apps we need locally. Everything else? In the cloud. Eventually we’ll all have affordable access to enough space for not just our documents and pictures in the cloud, but an entire lifetime of home movies too. Imagine that—no more worrying about losing those increasingly precious files, and exactly how and where to store them or back them up. Instead, we’ll be able to let the experts handle that in a cloud-based future.
I can’t wait.