Redmond, Washington -- In an attempt to make its cloud-based SkyDrive more attractive, software maker Microsoft today released numerous updates to its SkyDrive apps for Windows and Mac that the company shipped slightly more than one month ago, and promised a bug-fix update for its iOS app soon.
Interestingly, in a May 30 blog post, company officials mentioned that the coming updates will “appear automatically” in the next few week or so on PCs and Macs of those who have downloaded the apps. Among these, the update consists of four main upgrades, as well as routine bug fixes, Mike Torres, group program manager for SkyDrive Apps, wrote in a blog post.
Last month, when the apps came out, some termed it a 'direct hit,' noting that in the now-hot war for consumer mindshare in regards to cloud storage, Microsoft had made a strong move; by adopting even the platform of its arch rival, it made a bid to become the cloud storage solution for everyone. Also, the linking of local storage systems to cloud space was an intuitive, and useful move.
Immediately available for SkyDrive for Windows desktop is a feature that will be accessible in the upcoming Windows 8 Release Preview. “Right from the Photos app in Windows 8, you can fetch photos stored on your other PCs that have SkyDrive installed -- no matter where you are or how many terabytes of photos you have stored on the PC you are accessing,” Torres wrote.
More details about that option will be released “soon,” he said.
Among the fixes and updates via the Microsoft post, here is what is changing in the desktop apps:
SkyDrive for Windows desktop will power a cool new “fetch photos” feature in the upcoming Windows 8 Release Preview [...] “Right from the Photos app in Windows 8, you can fetch photos stored on your other PCs that have SkyDrive installed – no matter where you are or how many terabytes of photos you have stored on the PC you are accessing.
SkyDrive for OS X Lion no longer shows an app icon in the dock when running. We have definitely heard the feedback that it wasn’t necessary.
Your SkyDrive folder now updates more quickly and reliably when changes are made on other devices, including SkyDrive.com.
The limit on the number of total files in the SkyDrive folder created by the apps has been raised from 150,000 to a whopping 10 million! This should unblock some power users from easily adding lots of files to their SkyDrive folder.
Numerous smaller bug fixes to improve overall reliability.
That is a pretty good list--SkyDrive competes with products from Google, Apple, Box and others. That level of competitions means that consumers are certainly going to win in the long haul, as the various players beat on each other over who can provide the best service.
Furthermore, to receive the updates automatically, the build number for the latest SkyDrive apps is 16.4.4111.0525, but those running older builds (if the last four digits are lower than 0525) do not do anything--except make sure SkyDrive is running--to get these updates delivered to their machines, Torres said.
“In just a few weeks, more people were using SkyDrive apps than have used [Windows Live] Mesh,” Torres said. “People using SkyDrive for Windows or Mac are now our most engaged users -- syncing files across several devices, sharing with SkyDrive.com, and working together with Office Web Apps.”
The SkyDrive clients for all supported platforms are available on Microsoft’s SkyDrive apps site.