Death To Folders?

Google CEO Eric Schmidt wants you to use Google applications. “Something you’d use everyday in everyday life,” instead of Microsoft Office.

Death to the hierarchy…of folders!” etc…

Fast, efficient Desktop and email search is a godsend, however I’m not about to shift from Outlook to Gmail. Apart from the search function, I find Gmail, and other web-based mail services, clunky, slow and tedious. As speed-queen Marissa often proclaims, speed is important. It certainly is on the desktop.

I’m not so sure folders are going away anytime soon, either. The folder metaphor, and the actuality, predates computers. Humans like to categorize. It helps us make sense of things.

If Googlers think the enterprise market is just going to change overnight based on application cost, think again. Having had years of experience in enterprise computing myself, I know that the hardest and most expensive thing to change is people. People like doing things the way they have always done them, and change is often a long, slow, expensive process.

Going into schools, like Apple did, would be a good way in. Change the culture of the next generation before they get a chance to learn the Microsoft way.

  1. HalfdeckHalfdeck11-20-2006

    Speed is a big problem. That’s actually THE problem with things like Google Calendar and Google Docs. Gmail I don’t find particularly slow though.

    Tags / searchbox will replace folders for one reason: folders don’t scale.

    It takes too much time to find something if you have thousands of folders and if you haven’t mastered the art of folder-naming.

  2. Peter Da VanzoPeter Da Vanzo11-20-2006

    I don’t think it’s an either/or thing. Some people like folders, some like search, some like tagging, some incorporate all of the above.

    The folder metaphor is deeply entrenched. Kids put stuff in (actual) folders, and that’s why the metaphor has worked in computing. There is a familiarity with an off-line activity that people already do.

    Changing habits doesn’t happen overnight, no matter how good the replacment technology. Takes time.

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