There’s speculation online that 2009 is going to mark the year that we can dump those fail-prone hard drives and rely even more on Google keeping our life’s work (to be fair, that’s been the rumour since 2006). It seems ever more likely that Google has a cloud computing solution in the works, which will offer as much (if not more) storage than the average user’s hard drive, perhaps for free. It’s been christened by those both in the know, and way, way out of the know, GDrive.
The main advantage of this is that you’ll be able to access all your documents, photos, music and the like from anywhere there’s an internet connection. You’ll be able to edit your spreadsheets at work, and then get home and spend the rest of the evening correcting all the formula mistakes you made because you were distracted by the hot new work experience guy. Yay!
Eventually, this could mean that rather than your computer booting up from your hard drive it will run off a Google operating system. There’s even speculation that computers could stop shipping with hard drives at all, with Google becoming the default software shipped, in the way Microsoft currently is.
Of course, it’s not all puppies and rainbows. There are concerns about the amount of access Google would have to your data, and if you’re a regular user of Gmail, it’s probably something you’ve already thought about. And do you trust Google not to screw it up? If you’re housing your entire music collection in someone else’s server, are you any better than keeping it in a hard drive by your bed? Quite frankly, the answer’s probably yes, but it’s a step I’d be hesitant in taking.