Microsoft updates SkyDrive online interface

29 Jun

Two weeks after Apple made a lot of noise by introducing iCloud, Microsoft today announced updates to its own cloud service, SkyDrive, to give it wider appeal.

Microsoft launched the free service in 2007 to give users a place to remotely store files and access them anywhere from a Web browser. While it’s integrated with Windows, Office and Windows Phone 7, it’s not an exceptionally well-known service.

The Redmond-based company wants to change that, especially as Apple pushes cloud synchronization in its upcoming mobile operating system, iOS 5. Today, Microsoft started rolling out cosmetic and back-end changes to the SkyDrive interface, taking advantage of HTML5 for the most cross-browser compatibility.

In a browser, SkyDrive is designed to look like Windows Explorer – the file and folder system familiar to all Windows users. Today’s update dramatically slices the amount of time it takes to switch among folders, including the utilization of a user’s own computer hardware to more quickly render photos and gallery transitions, Microsoft said.

Through support for HTML5 and CSS3 – newer versions of the standard languages of the Internet – SkyDrive now automatically resizes and reorganizes photo thumbnails when viewed inside a gallery folder, Microsoft said in a blog post. Videos in SkyDrive now can take advantage of the HTML5 video tag so users don’t have to download special players or plugins.

Microsoft also removed advertisements from the right-hand column to make room for a pane that allows users to quickly open, rename or delete files. And the company added the ability to pin a user’s SkyDrive to the Windows 7 taskbar through Internet Explorer 9.

Microsoft demonstrates the changes in the video embedded below. Also of note, the company seems to have lessened emphasis on the “Windows Live” piece of the “Windows Live SkyDrive” brand, in favor of the simpler “SkyDrive.”


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Posted by on June 29, 2011 in Microsoft



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