Finder is an unusual but somewhat descriptive name of the Mac application that allows users to, well, uh, find files. Wherever files or applications or folders are on your Mac, the Finder can get you there.
For past few years we’ve witnessed an ever growing number of attacks on the Mac’s Finder. There are Finder-like apps and utilities with more functions and even replacements. And, there are cloud-based utilities that want you to store files online. They’re growing in number.
Apple itself is guilty of attacking the Finder’s localized usefulness with iCloud Drive. It’s a folder on your Mac, visible in the Finder’s sidebar, that lets you treat files stored in iCloud Drive as if they were stored right on your Mac (and they are).
One of my favorite utilities that helped to usher in cloud connections to the Finder is ExpanDrive. This utility brings– to the Finder and sidebar– a variety of online storage options, including Amazon, Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, Microsoft OneDrive, and a variety of acronyms from sFTP to WebDAV.
One app in the Mac’s Finder connects to a variety of online, cloud-based storage options. Or, if you don’t mind getting something similar for free, most of those have their own free applications that do kinda sorta mostly the same thing.
Apple hasn’t done it yet, but I’m betting they’re planning to make iCloud become our Mac backup system for everything. Google seems to want to do the same thing and plans to launch a new application called Backup and Sync. Ostensibly, B&S would take over functions from Google Drive and Google Photos.
Sweet, right? No word from Google yet on the price tag, but even Apple has become more aggressive with online storage. iCloud now has a 2TB storage option for $9.99 a month; less than Google or Microsoft’s OneDrive, and far less than Dropbox or Box and others.
Speaking of Box, the online storage company has plans for a new app called… insert drum roll here… Box Drive (there must be a billion Mac, iPhone, iPad, Windows PC, and Android device users who have know idea where the ‘drive’ is in all these apps). Box says it will be integrated with the new Files app for iPhone and iPad; an app itself, which works a little like the Mac’s Finder (with far fewer features) and helps iOS users find locally stored files.
What is happening here should be obvious. Local file and folder storage is going away. First, we saw the convenience of storing some files in the cloud so they could be used on multiple devices. Now, we’re seeing more options– and more affordable– to put mass quantities of our files and folders online as backups. How long before that’s where all the files we create, use, save, are stored?
The cloud isn’t attacking the Mac’s Finder so much as it is attacking our local file storage (which the Finder helps us, to, well, find) and that will be a massive change for all of us.