There seems to be a growing trend with online applications to save data/progress automatically. In many cases where an interruption to the connection or service is quite likely, it is definitely a good idea in case the user is absorbed in the task and forgets to do so. Google Docs is a good example of a web application saving after every user action. Microsoft OneNote is another example of a desktop application doing taking the same approach.
The only reason I can think of not to save automatically is if it acts as a reference point for undo actions, such as desktop applications that the user may want to roll back changes for.
Is there are good reason why Save buttons are still used rather than status messages to inform the user when a save action has been performed?
- Could it be that users are used to the idea and just need to change their behaviour gradually?
- Does it have to do with performance or implementation issues that are due to technical or technology limitations?
- Are there any usability rules or guidelines that it is breaking and no alternatives can be provided?