As a file manager, Files primary functionality is to manage, copy, rename, delete, create and open your files and directories.
It will also
- allow you to execute scripts
- open special URI locations
- open network filesystems like WebDAV, SMB, FTP, SFTP and many more
- write information to a CD
- show previews of pictures, audio and video files
- let you use tabs like a browser
Files also has support for plugins and scripts for extended functionality
Files has replaced Nautilus, which had replaced Midnight Commander in GNOME as the default file manager.
Nautilus was first release was 2001. Nautilus was a play on words, Nautilus being the name of a shell, Nautilus = graphical shell.
The Nautilus project started because the old Midnight Commander was considered too old in form and function for "modern" computers.