Microsoft has an estimated 100 million users of its SkyDrive "anywhere access and sharing" service today. But the company knows it needs to do more to help users understand what it is and how best to use it.
That's according to Brian Hall, General Manager of Internet Explorer and Windows Live, who spoke at the Cowen and Company Annual Technology Media & Telecom Conference on June 2. (I listened to a Webcast of his session.)
"We need to turn SkyDrive into a destination application," while keeping the underlying Skydrive infrastructure, Hall said during a Q&A session following his prepared remarks.
He cited as an example a SkyDrive application for the phone that would allow a user to see all information -- files, photos, Office Web Apps documents -- that they stored in their 25 GB of free cloud storage available with SkyDrive. Currently, Hall acknowledged, it's not always easy for current and potential SkyDrive users to figure out what they've stored there.
WinRumors.com received a demo in late May of a new HTML5 version of SkyDrive that Microsoft is developing that sounds like it is the SkyDrive app for the phone that Hall was describing. SkyDrive also may become a place to store music, as well, as LiveSide has noted.
Hall described SkyDrive as part of the "communications properties" under the Windows Live brand. The other two, according to his definition, are Hotmail and Messenger. SkyDrive allows users to “store, organize, and download your files, photos, and favorites on Windows Live servers, and access them from any computer with an Internet connection,” as Microsoft explains on its Web site.
Unsurprisingly, Hall declined to provide any specifics about the version of Windows Live services (known internally as Wave 5) that will supplement and extend Windows 8. However, he did note that the version of Internet Explorer 10 (IE 10) that Microsoft demonstrated on June 1 as part of its Windows 8 user interface presentation was the "second disclosure point" for Microsoft's next version of its browser.
"We showed it (IE 10) not just as the browser, but also as the rendering engine for an application" running on Windows 8, he said.
Now that we have some inclination as to what Microsoft is thinking about the future of SkyDrive, I'd love to hear more on what's coming with Live Mesh....