Lately, Microsoft has been busy building SkyDrive alongside Windows 8, which is expected to launch later this year. More so, the cloud-storage attribute lets you access your files on the go. And, Monday's update broadens the functionality that was already present on the drive, making storing and accessing those files more seamless.
In order to tempt users with more options, Micosoft's SkyDrive for the Windows desktop, a unified service that empowers users to drag and drop files and photos to the cloud, much like any other window. In addition, the software maker updated the SkyDrive apps on Windows Phone and iOS devices, delivering better management features and sharing options to those devices. The company also released a new preview client for OS X Lion. Support for Google's Android is missing.
In addition to several other newly released features, Microsoft incorporated the drive into Windows Explorer and Apple's Finder so the drive functions as an extension of your desktop, and added the ability to access files stored on your drive from the iPad as well as the iPhone and Windows Phone.
Above all, Microsoft also rewarded loyal SkyDrive customers if they opt to do so, allowing those who previously signed up to take advantage of its previous offer: 25 Gbytes of online storage. Users who had previously uploaded any file by Sunday, April 22 will get 25 Gbytes of cloud storage to fiddle around with, while somewhat penalizing those who have not taken advantage of its cloud-storage system.
Brand new SkyDrive users signing in to use the SkyDrive app, will get 7 Gbytes of storage for free, enough for “99 percent of people to store their entire Office library and share photos for several years,” the company said in a blog post. Users can upload files up to 2 Gbytes in size. After that, users can also purchase 20-, 50-, or 100-Gbytes of storage for $10 per year, $25 per year, or $50 per year.
“As we embarked on the path to bring SkyDrive closer to Windows, we had a few goals that drove our plan,” Mike Torres and Omar Shahine, group program managers for SkyDrive, wrote. “Initially, we wanted you to be able to 'get up and running' as quickly as possible, with very few steps. Next, we wanted to 'be quiet' on the system and make sure that all processing was entirely in the background, with your needs and your apps as the first priority. And last but not least, we really wanted it all to 'just work' as you would expect it to, staying up-to-date automatically, and humming along without confusing dialogs or pop-ups.”
Moreover, SkyDrive became available for Windows Phone and iPhone since December, and now Microsoft is also advancing the service to the iPad. Files can be moved, renamed and deleted remotely on the iPhone and iPad as well as Windows Phone. You can also see your remaining storage space, share with people, revoke their access or change their permissions from view-and-edit to view-only.
Apparently, it seems that Microsoft's timing is somewhat suspicious: as both Samsung and Sony launching cloud services, and reports had tipped Google Drive to launch this week.
Nevertheless, Microsoft also made available for download on April 23 a preview version of SkyDrive for Windows, a local version of its SkyDrive client. This is the first initiative the Softies are taking toward integrating SkyDrive with Live Mesh, the company's synchronization service that is similar to DropBox. The preview is available for Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 Consumer Preview.