🗂️ Google killed folders

September 24, 2021

The Hustle

We recently ran a survey asking readers “iPhone vs. Android, and why?” Across ~1.3k responses, our favorite finding was that 27.6% of iPhone users have less respect for Android users vs. 17.1% vice versa. Today, we’re releasing the dataset for your… enjoyment? Find it down below.

Today’s rundown:

  • Mental models: How Google makes us think like a laundry basket.
  • Chart: Do Netflix and Amazon’s media investments pay off?
  • Wild new patents: Ford’s brain system, Airbnb for nomads, and Snap’s TV avatars.

Let’s do it.

The Big Lead
typing on a macbook

Growing up with Google is making students less organized — but it might not matter

Google has had a hand in killing off a long list of products — encyclopedias, maps, newspapers — and it may be time to add another casualty to the list.

Beginning in 2017, STEM professors started noticing a recurring trend: new students didn’t know how to use folders.

Folders are part of a bigger mental model…

… called directory structure — the hierarchical system where files are saved in folders and subfolders in an intuitive way.

  • For example: a new file might be saved in a “Documents” folder, that lives in a “Desktop” folder, which lives in a folder called “This PC.”

Professors say students who grew up with Google are eschewing this method entirely in favor of a different mental model called “laundry basket” structure.

With this “system,” users save all files in one place (like items in a laundry basket), then use search to find a file on demand when needed — which can result in desktops that look like this:

(Source: @AidaSaidSo/Twitter)

Thanks to Google, search is built into everything now…

… including computers, mobile phones, and apps — which begs the question: are folders even necessary anymore?

Professors in STEM fields argue that in some cases they are.

  • For instance, computer programming, which often requires programmers to reference an exact location for a file.

As a result, many STEM professors are doing double duty, teaching directory structure alongside their field of expertise.

But it may just be a stopgap

Even the professors who teach directory structure believe it’s on the way out, anticipating that Gen Z will build their own tools without the need for folders — and teach that to future generations.

Even if that’s the case, there’s still no excuse for a desktop that messy.

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On Target: Target intends to hire 100k workers in preparation for the holiday season. All employees get a minimum wage of $15/hour. #ecommerce-retail

ColdHubs makes solar-powered storage containers that keep produce in Nigerian markets fresh throughout hot, sunny days and reduce waste. #clean-energy

Taste testers — though a small sample size — prefer 3D-printed, laser-cooked chicken to conventionally cooked chicken. Yum! #emerging-tech

Shh: Google Photos is adding Locked Folders to Android phones for your saucy selfies or secret collection of kitten pics. #privacy

Wow, much movie: After a promising Twitter poll, AMC CEO Adam Aron suggested the theater chain may accept Dogecoin for tickets. #fintech-cryptocurrency

Cord-cutting: To reduce waste, the EU is considering a proposal for universal charging that would require iPhones to have USB-C ports. #big-tech

Streaming services spend

Singdhi Sokpo / The Hustle

Prime Video may not be winning big, but it sure is spending big

Despite 47 Emmy nominations this year, Amazon notched 0 wins. Even so, it’s plowing ahead with content investments.

In 2020, Amazon spent $11B on content, up from $7.8B in 2019. It’s also spending $465m for just 1 season of its upcoming “Lord of the Rings” show, and is expected to cough up ~$2.5B per year for NFL Sunday Ticket rights.

And don’t forget the Amazon TVs the company is rolling out, which can be bought on Amazon, using an Amazon Alexa, to watch all this Amazon programming.

Damn, they’re good.

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Free Resource

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Emerging Tech

New patents from Snap, Airbnb and Ford

Trends member Neer Sharma has been rounding up the best corporate patents every week for his must-read newsletter Patent Drop.

Here are some recent gems that may be a sign of innovations to come:

Snap to auto-generate TV shows based on your avatar

Social platform Snap already lets users create avatars of themselves. A new patent can auto-generate episodic TV series of these avatars (imagine you and your friends in an avatar recreation of… “Friends”).

If executed well, this is a great tool for user retention and potential branding partnerships. If done poorly, we apologize in advance.

Airbnb wants to help nomadic families

A new patent from Airbnb recommends locations for nomadic families to live based on education needs.

In addition to generating curriculums, the home rental platform will also surface homes that are near “enhanced education destinations” like museums and aquariums.

Ford has a brain patent

Brain machine interface (BMI) is a hot topic in tech. Elon Musk’s Neuralink is leading the charge with a brain implant that lets you control computers with your mind.

Ford also has a BMI patent. But don’t worry, it’s not for you to drive a car with your brain. Instead, it’s meant for users to control an infotainment system (e.g., air conditioning) with their thoughts. Guess you could say, cool idea.

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🇺🇸 ​​On this day: In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt declared Devils Tower in Wyoming the 1st national monument.

🧘 Useful: Lofi.co offers artwork that you can interact with to get a customizable mix of chill tunes and ambient noise for study, work, and sleep.

🧠 That’s interesting: In Sweden, some children of refugees fall ill with “resignation syndrome,” a mysterious condition that looks like an impenetrable sleep. Here’s 1 neurologist’s attempt to understand.

​​😮 Wow: Athlete Zion Clark was born without legs due to a rare genetic disorder. He holds the world record for fastest man on 2 hands and dreams of being an Olympic athlete.

🍄 How to: You may think you need to go to the woods to forage, but Popular Science has tips on finding edible plants in your own neighborhood.

🐿️ Aww: And now, Squishy, a chipmunk with the chubbiest little cheeks!


(A roundup of our best reads from the last couple weeks…)

🥤Why the University of Florida gets a ~$20m cut of Gatorade profits every year.

👖A steep price for cheap clothes: The environmental cost of fast fashion.

🍔Chart: Why faster doesn’t always mean better when it comes to drive-thrus.

🤳Influencers have come to finance — and they’re making bank.

Why most gas stations don’t make money from selling gas.

Shower Thoughts
  1. “People who sleepwalk are technically following their dreams.”
  2. “Nobody looks average in a cowboy hat. Either you look very cool or like an idiot.”
  3. Apps shake when you press and hold them because they’re scared they’re going to get deleted.”
  4. “The hatred one has for mosquitos is proportional to the amount they’re loved by mosquitos.”
  5. “Bad handwriting is actually a security feature.”
via Reddit

We recently ran a survey where we asked readers “iPhone vs. Android, and why?” Some fast facts:

  • ~1.3k responses, 54% iPhone, 46% Android
  • More Android users have switched or considered switching
  • iPhone users have less respect for Android users than vice versa

Today, we’re sharing the dataset. Click here to check it out.

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