Re: It *is* actually useful
But what you seem to forget (along with Google) is that the technology has been there already for a while, and what you say _has_ been tried before, though not necessarily on a web browser. These "solutions" ultimately are forgotten until some bright young mind re-discovers their theoretical potential at some future.
Three-dimensional file viewers and the like sound like a great idea on theory, and there seems to be plenty of scientific studies that show that humans seem keen to spatial relationships within objects in the environment. However, none of it seems to hold a candle to the flat, hierarchical tree display, which ultimately seems to be a more intuitive way to display, say, hierarchical trees. Hierarchies, after all, are a human construct to mentally visualize relationships. The problem is that to start, by their nature, they are already flat in your head.
This is probably the reason why, thoughout the history of civilizations, mankind has used flat surfaces to study and analize organization and taxonomy, as opposed to, say, using physical blocks spread throughout an open room. Apparently, there is a conciseness brought on by the flatness that aids in maintaining the scope of the entire structure on one's mind.
Sure, there are specific uses for spatial and three-dimensional representations, and those have been pioneered by previous civilizations too (such as for engineering and anatomy), But these are not strictly hierarchical structures. And although they are very useful in the design of physical things, it is rather disengenious (or naive) to think that, since we *see* in 3-D, it must be easier to *work* in 3-D on all aspects of our lives. After all, who says that we *think* abstract concepts in 3-D at all?