Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Idea - Google plans 'super database'

A friend and I have been talking for months about the need for something like this -- it would be a great way to solve the backup problem, for example. Being able to access all your files from anywhere would also be nice. Here's a description:

Google plans 'super database': "GOOGLE, the internet giant, is planning a massive online facility that could store copies of users' hard drives - a move set to spark alarm among civil liberties campaigners.

Plans for the 'GDrive', previously the subject of rumour among computer experts, were revealed accidentally after notes in a slideshow were wrongly published on Google's site.

The device would create a mirror image of data stored on consumers' computer hard drives, letting users search data stored on other computers via Google accounts."

The fact that Google can be in there snooping around, and that others may be able to see your data, is unfortunate. [Could good encryption solve that whole problem?]

One idea we came up with uses a peer-to-peer solution. You run our P2P backup software on your machine and "donate" a section of your hard disk to the cause. For example, if you want to backup 10GB of data on this peer-to-peer network, you would donate 30GB of your hard disk (since HD space is so cheap now, this is not a big deal). The software would keep backups of your data (encrypted) on other people's hard disks, and would keep copies of other people's data on your hard disk. You donate 3X more disk space than you need because of the system's desire to store redundant copies of your data on multiple hard disks across the network. It would store your 10GB of data in 3 different places, so if one of those places goes down, your data is still available.

Doing it in a P2P fashion like this means that the system can accomodate an unlimited number of users and there is no cost to any anyone using the system (besides the cost of the donated disk space). This would have all of the benefits of the Google system without any of the privacy concerns.

If a system like this were available (either through Google or P2P), would you use it?

Awesome idea Marshall. And there is something unique that could come either the Gdrive or Peer to peer model too:
By caching the contents of thousands, then millions of users drives, huge space savings could come from eliminating redundancy.
Let's say there is a particular very popular video everyone is downloading. The 'master cache' need only save one. And when I want to view it again, it could come from the master.

However this idea unfolds, unfold it will, because it makes economic sense with many benefits to the end user explained through Metcalfe's Law (The power of the network increases exponentially by the number of computers connected to it)

Hope I haven't run on too much. Your posts always trigger good discussion.


If you haven't already, please check out the Freenet Project. This may be exactly what you're looking for.

I probably wouldn't use this. I don't use Google desktop because I don't like the fact Google's system can search all my computer files. Call me paranoid. Anyway, I also don't like the fact my data would be on some stranger's hard drive (even if it was highly encrypted). What if you store 1GB worth of data on my hd, and I go AWOL, and rip out my hd never to be heard from again? Or, if my hd dies with no way to recover the data? Too many things could go wrong in the p2p scenario, unless I am missing something, which is highly likely ;-)

Just wanted to say as a sidenote, I love your thoughts about the future Mr. Brain, and love the idea of having a computer connected to my vertabrae, so I can listen to music without having awkward wires and rectangular plastic boxes (ipods) strapped to my bicep!
That sounds kind of sarcastic now that I read over it, but I really do like that future you described in your book. Good job!
Bob Cringely talked about this in his column in September of 2004 see here and I envisioned it as backup and publish model here. I haven't taken the time to write more about that, but the more I think about it, the more it could be. Once I have this space, why not make a web mail that stores my email there and let me decide if I want Google to help me make it searchable. Total or partial privacy would be my decision.
Why stop at emails, all my applications could use this web file system. All the applications that store information on me could access my storage to store it, and maybe gain access to some info I want to share. Maybe I’ll take the time to clarify all I think such a P2P system would be. By the way I would use such a system if it was not controlled by just one company.
Kauf und Verkauf von Gold in den thomas sabo Goldmarkt hat viel an Popularität gewonnen,
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