Save To… the Cloud?

Savetothecloud

A couple of years ago, my good friend Ian Pringle wrote about the anachronistic persistence of a floppy disc icon to indicate a save command.

Ian noted that the notion of 'saving' in an age of web applications is itself an absurd notion and that state is perhaps more appropriate – recording a temporal snapshot of attributes and values. However, expressing state/time in a universally comprehensible icon is a daunting brief…

Of course, replacing the floppy with a hard drive or USB key icon would be just as arcane as a 3.5" disc, but I've noticed recently that alpha-geeks speak of saving to the cloud or assert that a particular document is in the cloud.

With the advent of web-based applications such as Google Docs and the emergence of cloud computing, perhaps The Cloud is an appropriately contemporary metaphor for saving a piece of work.

Saving to the Cloud blends the notion of a resilient, repeatable and trustable act, with an ambiguous, dimensionless, time-skipping cloud of data, servers and connectivity…a metaphor that's a good enough start 🙂

Curiously, the discless Google Docs does employ the traditional 3.5" floppy icon, but the disc-based iWork does not

Comments

  1. I think the point of the floppy disk image is logical. Somewhere the data is being written to a physical ‘disk’ even if that is in a sequential or logical database.
    The ‘cloud’ is actually a thin client sitting on a huge relational database.
    And as that is the case- your post is fluff.

    Reply
  2. Is this just about the icon used or what? You have to save state declarativly, or do a Google wave and “save” modifications in a diff like timeline. The icon is irrelevant.

    Reply
  3. It’s more about the underlying metaphor, not necessarily the tech or icon. I guess freezing something on a timeline is appropriate…
    That also gives rise to some interesting questions on whether the same metaphors are useful for moving around that timeline.

    Reply
  4. I guess as a developer I have a very different view to “normal” web users. I live in a version controlled environment, everything is a snapshot on a timeline, whether is the VCS or application activity history type logs (like the UNDO buffer but more powerful)

    Reply

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