Microsoft announced on Tuesday that it has updated SkyDrive with a number of key new features.
The software maker has improved the core sharing experience to make it a lot easier for end users to share data uploaded to their SkyDrive. It is now possible to share contacts via email, post photos to other networks from SkyDrive and share read-only links. The improvements don’t stop there though. Microsoft has added a number of new options to file manage existing and new data in SkyDrive. Web users can now:
- Create folders inline
- Rename a folder inline (or by hitting the F2 key)
- Move, delete, and download multiple files in bulk
- Move and copy very easily with an inline pop-over dialog
- Use right-click functionality on documents and photos to take action right away
- Create an Office document quickly.
Microsoft has also introduced drag and drop functionality for SkyDrive to allow users to upload files and photos using the HTML5 file API. Internet Explorer 10, Google Chrome, Firefox and Safari all support this functionality. Microsoft’s current support includes a Silverlight uploader but the company found it didn’t work well on other platforms. Files will also upload in the background whilst users browse and view other files in their SkyDrive.
Microsoft has also included geotagging support for SkyDrive. 17 million people upload content every month and a large majority is images and photos from devices that capture GPS locations. Microsoft’s own Windows Phone operating system acquires the GPS location on each photo and Microsoft is putting this data to good use by reading the location and providing a new map on the side of each image. The map links to Bing and will show exactly where the photo was taken.
Ian Moulster, Product Manager at Microsoft, explained the new SkyDrive features to WinRumors recently. “At this stage all we want to do is make people use it more,” said Moulster. Microsoft has previously admitted that a large amount of students are using rival services such as Google Docs or Dropbox. “We don’t want any devices to be left out in the cold,” says Moulster. “A lot of people do mix and match.” It’s clear from Microsoft’s hints at the future of SkyDrive and the company’s work to improve features that there’s a lot in store for mobile devices and Windows 8. “We want to make sure they can get to their content no matter what they use,” says Moulster. The latest set of improvements help broaden support for rival browsers by implementing rich HTML5 uploading instead of the company’s Silverlight feature.
What’s the next step for SkyDrive? Moulster couldn’t talk Windows 8 but Microsoft is planning to integrate its SkyDrive and Windows Live ID services with Windows 8. The software giant is planning to offer optional Windows Live sign-in for user accounts as part of Windows 8. The developer preview build of Windows 8 offers some parts of the integration but Microsoft plans to include the following in Windows 8:
- Associate the most commonly used Windows settings with your user account. Saved settings are available on each Windows 8 PC you sign in to
- Windows 8 Metro style app settings and last-used state persist across all Windows 8 PCs linked PCs
- Website and application login credentials are automatically synced across Windows 8 linked PCs
- Automatically sign in to apps and services that use Windows Live ID for authentication