What we can learn about file systems from Yahoo and Google

Posted on October 5, 2013

Back in 1995 it wasn’t natural to search the web with Google for a something you wanted to find. There were other sites that would help you find information, and believe it or not, one of the biggest was Yahoo!

And Yahoo did things differently – they put a lot of effort into creating a human collated, categorized guide to the web. You wanted to discover you went through Yahoo’s category system. Yet today things are different. Clearly, categorization of the internet has a big problem: it doesn’t scale. For Yahoo, it didn’t scale and Google became the entry point to the web.

How does this pertain to the file system? Today, most people’s files are stored in folders on their computer, and with an ever increasing number of files, that management is becoming ever more complex. Does that sounds familiar? Is the file system just like the web situation on 1995? Could be.

Apple’s iCloud has often been criticized because it does not allow more than one level of categorization. Could it be that Apple is well aware that the file system will rely much more on sales than categorization in the future?