Technolgy names have strange bedfellows. Winchester disk drive for a storage device? Memory for RAM and storage? The Mac’s Finder is another– 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. There are Finder replacements. And, there are cloud-based utilities that want you to store files online but the start at the Finder.
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 launched a new application called Backup and Sync. B&S will take over functions from Google Drive and Google Photos.
Sweet, right? Even Apple has become more aggressive with online storage. iCloud now has a 2TB storage option for $9.99 a month and only $2.99 for 200GB of storage; 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 no idea where the ‘drive‘ is in all these apps). Box integrates 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 that also show up on the Mac’s Finder.
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 Mac’s Finder has legs.
While I worry about the potential dangers of storing so many files online, I recognize that Finder just isn’t what it used to be. It’s not about finding files on the Mac, it’s about finding files anywhere online, too.