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So... I have to say I'm really underwhelmed with Google Drive. It's basically Dropbox + Google Docs integration. Meh. Way to aim for the minimum, Google.

It would have been really cool if it also integrated your Picasa photos and Google Music files. Seriously, why should I have to install Google Drive and Google Music Manager?
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Martin Maranski's profile photoCherry Summers's profile photoAaron Traas's profile photoHans Wolters's profile photo
11 comments
 
if you think about how google sees data, it is mostly a fabric of keywords associated with object IDs and addresses for those IDs. I don't know if you've ever dealt with the "map-reduce" scheme of sorting/processing data, but if you use tags you are adding to the keywords and improving the quality of the searching and processing/data-mining results but if you use folders you're just changing the address.

now, if they were to use folders to also assign some sort of locational tagging then they might get more information out of it for sorting, but since they are pushing people away from folders it seems they are not doing that.
 
For emails, the lack of folders kept me off Gmail for a while, until they allowed nested tags. Now, I'm completely hooked on tags for email. I think it's universally a better way of dealing with storing email than folders, full stop.

With documents, much less so. Mainly, because it doesn't map to real filesystems well. I like the idea of folders + tags, being 2 completely independent ways of accessing the files.

It kind of irks me that all of the tagging systems are separate. I have Circles for G+, separate from contact groups, which is separate from email tags, which is separate from Drive/Docs tags, which is seperate from tags on your YouTube account, etc ad nauseum.
 
also, I'm guessing that further integration will come over time. a lot of the google projects grow up completely separated, so they have to meet slowly or they will fight, like introducing a new pet into a household with existing pets.
 
Metadata +Aaron Traas , even huge e-learning systems that need documents are using tags :-)
 
I think tags are great, but having folders too would be nice, particularly if the documents are syncing to your client machine, which, you know, has a hierarchical filesystem it has to live in.
 
Filesystems are just a bunch of files with a tag holding the fact it has parents. In a good world you would be able to store 100M files on a small pc using another way to find it. You could use a rdbms or something like nosql. Only the interface to find them is lacking currently (when we talk about this specific situation).

Imho filebrowsers will be renamed to databrowsers :-)
 
I agree with you, in theory, but in implementation...

For instance, I have Document Foo.txt on my Google Drive with the tags "Bar" and "Baz" applied. I install the Google Drive sync client on Windows. It creates the Bar and Baz folders containing Foo.txt. I open the Bar folder, open Foo.txt in my text editor. Then I open the Baz folder, and open Foo.txt in a text editor. I make a change to the first, and save it. I make a change to the second, save that. What then happens to my files?

The way filesystems are presented to the users with modern tools is implemented as each file has a single unique path. Google Drive tries to get around this by making lots of copies. It'd be real nice if Windows had symlinks, and it could be implemented with those, but it doesn't.
 
Maybe you should not see it as 'folder' or 'directories'. This is something presented between our head and keyboard (brain and kb).

Currently we would be able to mount a webdav storage and we know where to find it. It is remote. In the future you might want to give some tags to a file or process (yes, not bound to files) and you would be able to add tags you give permissions to. Tag A can be stored in Asia or only be stored in a specific part of the world, Tag B might be defined to not be indexed, not be presented in the drive and not be shown to certain people or just to certain people.

Tags are way much cooler then directories. Think about unix user/group rights and then start multiplying.
 
I agree that tags are better; but for dropbox-esq sync type functionality, there's an end user implementation problem. I'm all for re-imagining the way we graphically interact with filesystems, but for most people that's Windows Explorer or Finder. HFS+ has file metadata that can be used for tags, but it also has the traditional directory structure, whilst I'm not even entirely sure if you can implement tags at all in NTFS.
 
Do you want to know if I care about ntfs or ext4?
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