Google Docs Safety In Question As Graphite Blockchain dApp Looks To Provide Better Alternative
Some of you may remember the incident which took place earlier this year, wherein a group of hackers started posting private documents held on Google’s servers all over ‘Yandex’ — one of Russia’s premier search engines. The documents were varied and consisted of internal bank memos as well as biz plans of various companies.
In response to the leak, Google issued a highly predictable statement saying that the safety of their clients’ data was their number one priority and that such documents could have only gone public if the original authors had intended to do so.
While such a lame cover-up tactic might have worked on some, those associated with the digital sector know that information sharing is a practice that is carried out not only by Google, but also a host of other multinationals. For example, last year Facebook was also embroiled in a high profile ‘data-leak’ scandal involving Cambridge Analytica.
Similarly, many Microsoft Windows users have also reported losing a bulk of their saved work owing to the firm’s latest update (which basically deleted their private content without prior consent).
There’s A Brand New Alternative To Google Docs In Town
In response to how the aforementioned centralized conglomerates handle their data, a developer by the name of Justin Hunter has just created an all new decentralized app on the Bitcoin blockchain by the name of ‘Graphite’.
Graphite, can essentially be thought of as the blockchain version of Google Drive where nobody can “accidentally” leak or steal your documents — since there is not particular group of people who are in charge of the entire info pool.
All of the documents stored on the Graphite ecosystem are encrypted and nobody except for the owner of the docs can share or delete them.
To further elaborate on this matter, a statistical study shows that there are currently over 3,000 users making use of Graphite. Out of this figure, all but one user has employed the paid version of the app (which allows for added functionality like Slack integration, monitoring team activity etc).
As things stand, Graphite is currently targeting NGOs, EU-based businesses and other journalistic outfits looking to make a mark for themselves in today’s competitive biz market. In terms of how much the paid version of the service charges, plans start at $19.99 per month for teams of up to five and exceeds $59.99 per month for teams of more than 25, increasing $5 per month with every additional team member.
In an interview with Hunter, he mentioned that he’s currently getting a lot of queries regarding Graphite from NGOs and activists working with people in the likes of Vietnam, China, North Korea, and Northern African countries, particularly Togo.
Additionally, talking about the reason as to why he created Graphite, Hunter added:
“During my MFA creative writing program, I got worried and tired of using Google Docs, and I couldn’t find an alternative that I liked. I really wanted to own all my docs, but I didn’t want to go back to storing every file on my desktop with Microsoft Word.”
Some Of Graphite’s Core Aspects Worth Considering
Signing up with Graphite is very simple and straightforward. For starters, all you need to do is simply create a username and password, following which you will need to save your private recovery key (which consists of 12 unrelated words). Immediately upon registration, you are given access to the product’s basic app suite which consists of
- Word Document Creator
- Sheets (spreadsheets)
- Vault— where users can store documents they create both on and off Graphite.
It is also worth noting that the general outlay of the documents and the spreadsheets look very similar to Google’s. However, when using the “live edit feature” on the dApp, some problems may be encountered because of the app’s current technical limitations.
Graphite’s Central Limitations
There are some aspects of the app that are still quite hindered. For example, in order to share a document using Graphite, users may encounter some problems since the “accessibility protocols” associated with the program are still being tweaked.
Also, besides not being able to share a document with your contacts seamlessly, there are other niche’ functions on Sheets (like adding and multiplying cell contents) that sometimes do not deploy as per one’s wishes. Even the chat feature embedded within the app does not seem to work properly at times.
Lastly, some of Graphite’s encryption modules could also use some work since they seem to have been designed for ultra-tech savvy users.
Hunter and his project seemed poised for big things but adoption is the one thing keeping Graphite from entering the mainstream. At the moment, Hunter solely relies on the power of social media marketing through platforms like Twitter and Medium to spread the word regarding Graphite (but he’s hopeful that his project will garner more traction soon).
Lastly, even though Hunter’s brainchild is quite visionary, it is plagued by a number of bugs that render it quite ineffective at the moment. However, that is pretty much the story for a lot of other dApps too.