Anders Brownworth

Technology and Disruption

Google Docs Changed to Google Drive

At some point in the last week or so, Google seems to have renamed Google Docs. Two things strike me with this:

1. The focus seems to be off of competing with Microsoft's Office

2. This bucks the trend away from drives toward the cloud

I haven't had Office installed on a computer I use since roughly 2006.* I have been a fan of Google Docs as an Office competitor and have been cheering each improvement. The functionality is still there but it would seem the desire to have a Dropbox competitor has caused Google to rename the product belying a change of focus. It is just a name but I don't think of a drive as the fundamental product here.

The term "drive" used to refer to a physical disk drive. Flash memory such as USB sticks took the legacy name "drive" as well because of the way they showed up in operating systems. Solid state "drives" have suffered the same fate. Cloud services like Amazon's S3 and Dropbox (which generally term things a "shared folder") have finally gotten away from the name. To see Google take the name Drive seems like an unnecessary throwback.

* I used Apple's iWork productivity suite to bridge the gap between Office and a more capable Google Docs.

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