When Chrome OS devices hit the stores late this year, users may have to start getting used to a web-centric mindset. Practically everything on their device will be running on the cloud. And with easily accessible Google Docs already accepting up to 1 GB storage for ANY kind of file, it would be difficult to resist storing and moving more files to the cloud as well.
So does this mean you’d have to say goodbye to local drive storage or even your trusty USB flash drive?
Ever since the introduction of the floppy disk, external storage devices like USB flash drives have proven to be an indispensable partner of every regular computer user. Students carry in them their homework, mp3 songs, and ebooks; accountants and salesmen have their spreadsheets, business letters and reports; IT personnel have their program codes, installers and experimental OSes; and so on.
External storage devices enable people to exchange files quickly, keep backup copies, hold their most confidential information close to themselves, or (for the Linux geeks) carry a fully functional operating system. These extremely portable tiny devices allow users to be more mobile and able to work away from their main computer.
If you have a USB flash drive (a.k.a. pen drive) and only need the most commonly used applications like MS Word, Excel or PowerPoint, you can easily set down to work in almost any establishment that has a computer. Of course, I find it difficult to imagine any regular computer user possessing only a USB flash drive. Besides, they’d have to pay for computer usage each time they need one, which would certainly be very expensive.
In most cases, users do have their own computers and these devices are mainly used for sharing files with colleagues, business associates, and friends. Today’s highly mobile computer users (a.k.a. road warriors) usually have three gadgets with them: a laptop, a cell phone, and a USB flash drive - all other laptop accessories are secondary.
As for tomorrow’s road warriors, that’s what I’m curious about. With cloud computing and online storage, things could be different. Will the number of main gadgets be reduced to two?
i.e., a Chrome OS laptop and a cellphone?
If you’ve tried working with Google Docs, you know that file sharing is as simple as 1-2-3. You click the Share button, Invite people, specify the email address of the person you’d like to share your file with, and click Send. That’s actually 4 steps, but you get the picture.
Excited to move your files to the cloud already? You might have to hold your horses first. If you ask me, Google and other cloud services providers have yet to provide much better assurance as with regards to one major issue: security. You’d only need to look back a few months to see where I’m coming from.
Chinese hackers attack on GMail, Google’s own webmail service. Does that ring a bell?
Once people start the exodus of files to Google Docs, the thrill of hacking into those accounts would be very irresistible.
So should future Chrome OS users bid goodbye to their trusty USB flash drive? I don’t think so ... well, at least not yet. Store files on the cloud, but leave the most confidential ones in your internal or external storage devices.