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Illustrated Google Wishlist: Google Drive  (View post)

Libran Lover [PersonRank 4]

Monday, March 19, 2007
17 years ago9,663 views

Great concept! But also scary (vis-a-vis privacy issues). But if this feature becomes available, I will still want to sign-up AT ONCE!

Alan Hope [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

The privacy issue is easily remedied: only use Google Drive for files you wouldn't mind the Google dudes or the US government looking at. For most people, that's probably most files. But not all. So just keep those sensitive documents to yourself. It's what we all do now, after all.

BT [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

What is needed are saved searches and auto-updating smart folder like functionality. Also the ability to tag a file when you upload would be useful.

Labels v. folders [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

Following on BT's comment... while a folder structure makes more sense so that you can keep your files organized as you have them on your PC or Mac, doesn't it make more sense in the context of Google's history to use labels to identify files?

And what about those (like me) who purchased an upgraded Picasa Web capacity, for example... do they just get that storage takced on to their total "Google Drive" storage?

Hugues de Saint Salvy [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

With regards to the privacy issue, you could let users encrypt select files that they deem sensitive. I explained this concept (with similar screenshot mock-ups) here:
It was applied to the current Google Docs and Spreadsheets, but it could work exactly the same for GDrive.

(My solution does not solve the problem of your password being broken, but it protects users who left a computer logged into their Google account)

/pd [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

I think whichever way you go.. there is no such thing as "privacy" in todays space.. – so its easier to just do what you do normally without worry of 'breach' of information to governments or such entities.

Afterall, if you are doing something which is NOT illegal, what is there to be scared about ??

J. McNair [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

I am happy that I was not the only one that thought that Drive should integrate across Google's properties and allow downloading of all your Google data. Not to mention synchronization and backup.

1. Change "Folders" to "Labels", like GMail, but keep them hierarchical, like folders.

2. I second saved searches as labels/folders. The user shouldn't know the difference except "Save this search as a label" button in the search results.

3. Auto tagging. Google extracts some meaningful data from all files (size of images, length of videos, unique words in documents, etc.) aids in searching.

4. Affordable premium high-speed ad-free version.

5. The client should be built into Google Desktop with synchronization and backup features. No separate program. This makes the most sense, I think. A right click for "Save file/folder to your Google Drive" uploads the whole thing.

6. Encryption as strong as possible.

7. Secure FTP for uploads and downloads. I'd pay for it. The potential for automation is great.

8. Of course, if they were really nuts they could deploy something like content management system, personal wiki, or version control systems, Thus allowing automatic backup and synchronization of all Google Drive files. This is, of course, a dream.

Mysterius [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

I agree that the obvious solution to storing private data would be to allow users to set up their own, heavily encrypted space, so that neither Google nor the government could spy on it without the key. And, of course, Google will not store this key, because, assuming they don't want to spy on you themselves (which I trust they won't), they don't have any particular reason to make it easy for the government to spy on you, either. If encrypting and decrypting data consumes resources, Google could limit the amount of data that can be encrypted.

Colin Colehour [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

This one product could be deemed Google OS. You would have access to all of your data from all of their services in one place. I for one would actually pay $50 a year for something like this. This beats Google Apps for your domain!!

elyk [PersonRank 6]

17 years ago #

>>I agree that the obvious solution to storing private data would be to allow users to set up their own, heavily encrypted space, so that neither Google nor the government could spy on it without the key. And, of course, Google will not store this key, because, assuming they don't want to spy on you themselves (which I trust they won't), they don't have any particular reason to make it easy for the government to spy on you, either. If encrypting and decrypting data consumes resources, Google could limit the amount of data that can be encrypted.
This would be a good solution, and they set a precedent for doing this with the firefox browser sync extension, where you have the option of encrypting your info with a pin that isn't stored anywhere and that you have to enter on every computer you want to be able to access your encrypted info.

Dan [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

Excellent post, Philipp. Thanks for taking the time to write it up.

Jordn [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

Great idea and great mock-ups – I almost believed the site existed.

The one tiny, tiny thing I have a problem with is the whole "Windows Explorer" thing... why not have something OS-neutral so that people like me have nothing to complain about? You know – "Why doesn't this look like Finder or Thunar?" Same goes for those icons.

Don't get me wrong – I use Windows. I was brought up on Windows. I just don't like the thought of Google being biased towards any one OS... unless it's Linux.

Another reason why the "G:" name may be... sensitive for certain people.

But go tagging! The day that a desktop FS with built-in tagging facilities is widely-available will be the day I actually have a smile on my face.

P. Sawyer [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

Could we FTP directly to the Gdrive? Would be nice for large downloads from slow servers.

Irfan [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

Good Analysis, but you missed the gtalk and orkut integration in gdrive :) and not the least the google reader can read your gdrive too :)

Ricky Moorhouse [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

Why restrict the System folder to not be edited – It'd be better if you could edit things in either place and the updates would be seen in both places.

Then you could edit blog posts either with Blogger, Google Docs or a program on your computer.

Mark Draughn [PersonRank 5]

17 years ago #

Philipp, I can't believe you forgot to mention the API that allows applications and web sites to use Gdrive. The best part is the ability to share subtrees for reading, writing, or managment by other web sites.

Thus, if you blog on TypePad, you can give TypePad an identifier and key which it can use to store content on your Gdrive instead of its own storage. You provide as much storage as you want, you control it, and you don't have to trust the TypePad site with content outside of the subtree you share with them.

On another matter, if we all start backing up our hard drives to Gdrive, Google will be able to save a lot of storage by detecting and crushing out duplicate files.

Encryption would break that. Encryption would also break the ads. For both of these reasons, encryption would be a premium for-pay feature.

Come to think of it, an API would break the ads too, so it might have to be a premium feature beyond a certain point.

Frankly, I'd much rather pay for Gdrive than have it be supported by ads because then Google would have to provide customer support. Also, they'd have something to lose if they disappoint me. I want Google to have the right incentives here.

Mysterius [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

[put at-character here]Mark Draughn: Why not simply limit the encryption to a certain amont of space, as I suggested earlier? A bit of space for more, ahem, private files should suffice. More encryption space can still be bought afterwards, if there is sufficient user demand.

Adam Dempsey [PersonRank 3]

17 years ago #

Very detailed idea, seems feasable, lets just hope we do get something similar, would certainly be extremely useful!

Kevin Rusto [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

Yes Please!

Gerrit [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

Very nice write-up!

Regarding the folder-structure: I think we will see more of that even at Gmail – after all folders are the traditional way of storing data, while tags or labels are more of a secondary way of structuring (though very helpful).
I think we might also see a completely new redesign of Gmail and eventually all G-Services – remember the hiring of Doug Bowman? I think we haven't seen too much of his work of the last year yet.

Kent [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

Great entry. I have been waiting for Google to do a service like this for a while. I would be very willing to have a "free" service limit put across all of my Google Applications (Gmail, Picassa, Google Pages, Blogger, etc) and then perhaps pay a small fee for additional space if needed.

I especially liked your idea about syncing of files. That would be a way to get me to use this even more as I am often am working on more than one computer.

Keep up the great blog.

Reto Meier [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

[put at-character here]Gerrit: Have to disagree with you there. There's been little indication that Google has any plans to move in a 'folder' direction. The closest they've come is 'albums' in Picassa(+Web).

Just because folders are traditional doesn't make them the right metaphor. Remember OpenDirectory? People used to think the only way to find things online was by categorising every web page and putting them in a folder structure, these days? Not so much.

Gerrit [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

[put at-character here]Reto: Folders are nothing else than predefined labels making the use easier for people not used to tags but to folders. Of course I am not talking about filesystem folders but rather smart folders on top of a databased filesystem.
I think this will happen, since Google is marketing their apps more and more towards corporate users. Designwise it will move towards a more desktop-like design, maybe a little like yahoo mail but with the Google twist (and speed) we know.

ropib [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

I think that an upload and a synchronization tool are not enough. If you are on a linutop for example you just can't download a document from a site (you don't have any hard drive) to upload it and to go repeatedly to Google drive to do it is a bit boring.

The best thing to do is a firefox extension that displays the choice hard-drive/google-drive for the download event.

Jack [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

they won't have folders->labels

but not hierarchical....

Jim Barr [PersonRank 4]

17 years ago #

Very nice conceptualization. I would gladly par a reasonable price for this service if it were not offered for free. This is the kind of integration Google needs to tie everything together. I also second the Label concept.

As far as capacity goes, I would have no problem if Google imposed a file size limit, say 10MB like Gmail, to keep things consistent. Maybe a premium offering would remove the cap? And 100GB would be great, but I would personally settle for less if it was free, say 20GB with more for a premium service. There needs to be enough capacity to woo users, but at the same time, there needs to be a balance to be able to promote premium offerings.

ropib [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

[put at-character here]Jack

It is possible to have some hierarchical labels: setting a label to a label for example. It is even more powerful than simple folders because it would be possible to have a multi-hierarchical architecture without duplicate the content, i don't understand why it is not like this at the moment.

Reto Meier [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

[put at-character here]ropib

I think the simple answer to why it isn't like that at the moment is because it's just simpler not to support multi-hierarchical labeling. It's pretty clear that Google see search as the way we should be finding everything. Labels are just another thing to search for, it lets you add meta-data to things (like email) which aren't already in the header or message text. Google's philosophy seems to be more 'search for family' rather than 'browse family'. It's search rather than filter (if that makes sense).

Personally I've found it disconcerting at first, but very effective in practice.

Oh, and Philipp? Your GDrive concept rocks!

ropib [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

To set a label to another label won't trouble the searching process. It is useful to add all the labels we want with just one click according to our hierarchy than to choose every label repeatedly. It is not a philosophy to not think about user friendliness.

Jeremy Mikkola [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

I hope the folks at Google are reading this!

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

I think labels are definitely smarter (because a single item can have multiple labels), but the more "human" and casual metaphor may be a physical folder. Gmail tells you "skip the inbox" and not "skip applying an inbox label" because it's more intuitive to think of physical objects, and "moving to trash" is also more intuitive than thinking about "replacing the existing label with the label 'trash'", IMO.

You can see what mess Google got themselves into with mixing the metaphors when you look at Google Reader. Go to the settings, and check the "Subscriptions" tab. For every subscription, you will be able to select "add to a folder" which lets you choose, say in my case, "fun" or "geeky". But yet when you switch to the "tags" tab, then you'll see "fun" and "geeky" are tags (labels) all of a sudden. Look at the icon image names in the reader homepage view and you'll find that Google internally doesn't have a clear concept either: a link in the left side will point to e.g. "/label/google-related" but it will show the icon "tree-view-folder-open.gif".... so is it a folder or a label??

But, I'll be the first to say that deeply nested folders are a concept of the past. It doesn't work well I think, we spend endless time clicking to find the files we want, I found this to be a horror in my last office where there were lots of documents on the intranet. As Reto said, we can just tag our stuff and search through it, or search through the file contents (if we have a superfast search engine, that is – *not* like Windows search!). So you can have a one-level hierarchy in your Google Drive if you want, and then it will really be the same in the end. But people who want deeper nesting will have an easier time understanding the concept than hierarchical labels. And they will also be able to import/ export the whole structure to their Windows disk (or other offline OS's...). What may be possible: in the search engine, offer some auto-completion (a la Google Suggest) that expands a list of existing tags. This will offer you to basically select a tag/ label, and yet not confuse the metaphors of physical locations vs labels.

Something that mixes the pros of labels as well as folders may be symlinks, like those Windows shortcuts for files, but in the sense that the actual file will be equally existent in several locations (folders). I didn't want to include those symlinks in this sketch because it might be a security risk for casual users: a file may be existing in both a shared folder as well as a private folder. Now when the casual user looks at the file in a private folder, and starts changing the file to add some confidential information to it, this confidential information will also be shared all of a sudden with others because the file is also symlinked to a shared folder. Of course you can explain this in the interface and pop-up warnings and so on, but this gets too complicated I think, and I bet the worst press Google Drive could get is nightmare stories of users who inadvertendly shared confidential stuff....

J. McNair [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

See, I think hierarchical Labels can work, as long as they are limited to 2 or 3 levels deep. This is about the limit before it gets ugly. I mean, a "folder" on your hard drive is really a saved metadata search built into your file system. Well, it's a not exactly that, but close. Rarely does your chosen organizational scheme relate to the physical location of your files on your drives. Labels and Tagging are just richer ways of using metadata. I say give the users both because underneath, they are almost the same thing.

Folders can be Nested Labels given "special" hidden tags that denote that all files with this label inherit all parent labels as well.

Say you have photographs grouped like this:
-Mom and Dad (Alice and Bob Crypto)
-My kids

Everything labeled "Mom and Dad" or "My kids" are also labeled as Family automatically. So you can search for "family" photos or just photos of your kids.

Also, It would be nice if Drive could automatically exract certain metadata from files, or just use share Google Desktop's index (another good reason why drive should be built into Google Desktop).

Andy Fan [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

I've listed some noise on GDrive below as Philipp suggested me place them here. I hope more buddies could discuss on it. Anyway, the idea generator Philipp may should understand his idea deeply in the perspecitves of technology and users.
Dear Philipp,
I've seen your idea on GDrive via Google Reader. It sounds a pretty good mock plan which might be quite matched with the contempory trends of Google projects. However, I have some arguements.
1. Your idea reflects that Google sounds like an online storage provider, free solutions for users but with sponsored links associated with their ad-sense. That means Google might be evil if the network becomes unavailable for users. e.g., when an earthquake happened (recent one is the Taiwan earthquake), people's lives may be interrupted, i.e., when people heavily rely on Google's storage, Google may be evil to the users as accidents will happen more frequently than local hard discs / the computer. Besides, network is fragile and will be blocked if more users use online service, especially downloading, uploading, a/v broadcasting, and online applications (VoIP, online video chatting, and other big bit-flowing applications). Besides, legal issues will interrupt users, i.e., some countries may block some services.
2. Your ideas may make hard disc vendors sell storages to Google but not HP, Dell or Lenovo. This trend may mean saving money for users, but also disadvancement for them as people may not always travel to somewhere with convenient network conditions. Of course, people may use WLAN using satellite channel, but problems will gather: one is that satellite channel will bring similar issues like cable network (triffic blocks or interruption), the other may be the expense not affordable for many people.
Anyway, your ideas are great for users like me. I mean, for an network explorer, more free online storage is benefitial. However, when it becomes a trend, people may meet more problems. I wish your idea will come true. Thanks.

Andy FAN

Hi Andy,

Thanks for your comments! Can I invite you to post them to this thread too?

Google Blogoscoped

Mrrix32 [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

What I would like to see in GDrive is the ability to pertition your space so, for example, YOU could set a limit of 1GB for Gmail, 3GB for PWA and 500MB for Page Creator.

The reason I would like this is because I would probably end up using all the space for one service leaving none for the others, if you where able to limit your use it would make sure you had space where you needed it.

Also this would be better for me than the current spacing as I would rather have 2GB on PWA than on Gmail.

SEO Practices [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

It would be a good resource to have, there is a whole lot of information we could store online, and it will be accessible everywhere. We just have to keep more confidential info in our own drives.

mikeT [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

Definitely use the Google paradigm for folders and labeling. Have filters to automatically label files and gMail-like search and label editing.

I would really like to hand it to Google for the gmail interface – labels and filtering. It was really a breakthrough and I hope it becomes ubiquitous. I'd love to have my PC organized that way, natively.

Brinke Guthrie [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

what if i wanted to send my entire 900 song collection from itunes? can I do that? it would take weeks tho.

Owen Cutajar [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

ohh .. I'll have a dozen of those please

GuillaumeB [PersonRank 9]

17 years ago #

Can anybody remind me what Platypus exactly is. i ve always thought it was an internal experiment of such a GDrive but as I am reading :..
"Google Drive (not to be confused with Google’s existing internal Gdrive project, code-named Platypus)"

...I am a bit confused here

I have been dreaming of such an application and I really hope it will come soon. WHo knows? Spring usually is the time for big releases so... let's cross our fingers guys.

Hey! BTW if this is gonna be on invite only please invite me!!!!!!!
(better soon than never right?!!!)

trilok [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

the concept is really wonderful and i would like to have it on the screen as soon as possible

GuillaumeB [PersonRank 9]

17 years ago #

Hey you know what? The more I looks at this concept the more i'm thinking about Jotspot. For some reason I believe JotSpot could actually be used to store your photos files ... and make it easy to share them with Jotspot technology

That guy [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

Not google drive, but close and does a lot of the stuff described in the wishlist:

Hasn't launched yet, but it's in beta and admitting people

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