How Microsoft SkyDrive will morph from a Web site to cloud service with Windows 8

How Microsoft SkyDrive will morph from a Web site to cloud service with Windows 8

Summary: Microsoft is working to turn SkyDrive into a true cloud storage service with a new Windows 8 SkyDrive app and integration.

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On the heels of some big leaks over the past weekend about alleged features coming to the next version of Microsoft's cloud storage service, the Windows Live team has gone public with early information as to what's happening.

As some Microsoft watchers expected after seeing some alleged new Skydrive screen shots posted on February 18 by Gemind.com.br, Microsoft is moving toward combining its Skydrive and Live Mesh services with the next release of Skydrive. (Live Mesh is Microsoft's Dropbox-like sync service that the company first announced in 2008.)

Up until now, SkyDrive has been little more than a Web site where users can save, share and access files and data. The SkyDrive team plans to turn it into more of a real service that will supplement Windows 8, according to a February 20 post on the Building Windows 8 blog.

As weekend leaks indicated, Microsoft is building a SkyDrive Metro-style app for Windows 8. SkyDrive files also will be integrated with the Windows Explorer on the desktop (as LiveSide noted in a post over the weekend), and the ability to fetch remote files via SkyDrive.com is coming, as well, according to today's Building Windows 8 post from Mike Torres and Omar Shahine, Group Program Managers for SkyDrive.

Microsoft plans to make the SkyDrive app for Windows 8 available simultaneously with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, which is due out by February 29. The ability to do desktop sync and fetching remote files will come "soon afterwards" for Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8, company officials said.

There's no mention in today's post about the alleged Mac client for the new SkyDrive service, which the Brazillian site Gemind.com.br featured over the weekend. There's also no mention of the long-expected paid supplemental SkyDrive options beyond the current free 25 GB plan, or of the OpenDoc file suport; new URL shortening service, or BitLocker-encrypted recovery key storage that also are alleged to be part of the coming SkyDrive release.

Update: Thanks to eagle-eyed reader @TheRackow, there is a mention of coming higher-storage plans, though no details in today's post. The post says:

"SkyDrive for the desktop will also provide the ability to sync up to your available quota of storage (and the ability to unlock more), along with unmatched performance on your PC. Oh, and we will also have support for uploading large files (up to 2GB) through Explorer, another big request from SkyDrive.com users over the years."

The Gemind.com.br site mentioned alleged new +20, +50 and +100 GB add-on plans in its post this past weekend. Microsoft officials declined to comment on that report.

There also is nothing in today's Building Windows 8 blog post about how Microsoft will beef up Windows Phone synchronization -- beyond the current Camera Roll support -- with the coming SkyDrive update. Microsoft originally planned to sync not just PCs, but also phones, with Live Mesh, but ending up curtailing that planned support with the initial consumer release of the service.

Topics: Software, Browser, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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51 comments
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  • amazing

    This sound amazing. thats what i wanted and im glad win8 finally is going to get it. also of course the app for explorer is really nice, since it would let me browse my local files through skydrive website.
    Emi Cyberschreiber
    • RE: How Microsoft SkyDrive will morph from a Web site to cloud service with Windows 8

      @Emi Cyberschreiber
      that's vaporware! M$ does not have the scale to allow Sky drive for more than a few hundred users. You should use Google+ instead.
      The Linux Geek
      • RE: How Microsoft SkyDrive will morph from a Web site to cloud service with Windows 8

        @The Linux Geek: Hey, you replaced the "S" in Microsoft with a $ sign. Clever!
        Johnula
      • RE: How Microsoft SkyDrive will morph from a Web site to cloud service with Windows 8

        @The Linux Geek
        Is news a bit short on the Linux pages? No new announcements there? You must be bored.
        Blogsworth
      • RE: How Microsoft SkyDrive will morph from a Web site to cloud service with Windows 8

        @The Linux Geek But Google+ sucks. I'll stick with MS' SkyDrive.
        TimeForAChangeToBetter
      • RE: How Microsoft SkyDrive will morph from a Web site to cloud service with Windows 8

        @The Linux Geek Trolling: Your doing it wrong.
        arhus
      • RE: How Microsoft SkyDrive will morph from a Web site to cloud service with Windows 8

        @The Linux Geek I read on Techcrunch today that Sky Drive already has 17M users.

        That's more users than desktop Linux.
        dazzlingd
      • so?

        @The Linux Geek

        do you think I care what you think?

        and why should I use google+? does it have something compared with SkyDrive, if it does, i dont need it anyway. and since all i know google+ its a social network, the only i use its facebook and because, its easy to contact a friend there. but its not like i care about it or need something like google+ none i know use. and of course also i don't want a company like google in my life. if you like it, ok, its your problem.
        but i use what i want and im good with hotmail, skydrive, windows phone, and specially with Windows, i work on it and i game on it. and skydrive is a plus where i can share files with my friends without opening other silly accounts like google or dropbox, etc.

        i know you are only trolling but if you say "you should use Google+" i can say "you should get a life"
        Emi Cyberschreiber
      • RE: How Microsoft SkyDrive will morph from a Web site to cloud service with Windows 8

        @The Linux Geek

        Take pity on him. His favorite hobbyist OS is still below 1% usage and he prefers an advertising company to a software development one. With every new feature and advantage MS brings out, his cognitive dissonance gets worse.

        Don't worry LG, Linux will always be there, just like the abacus. Perhaps you could contact the unlamented Paul Murphy and suggest takling over his Linux museum.
        tonymcs1
      • RE: How Microsoft SkyDrive will morph from a Web site to cloud service with Windows 8

        @The Linux Geek MS has huge data centers all over the world. What kind f comment is that. You are completely wrong and you lied.

        The Linux Geek learned how to install Ubuntu on an old computer now he know everything!
        apetti
      • RE: How Microsoft SkyDrive will morph from a Web site to cloud service with Windows 8

        @The Linux Geek: Google's Dropbox-like sync service, Syncdocs, integrates well with Windows, but it will be hard to beat OS integration, despite Google+
        GeeWoz
    • RE: How Microsoft SkyDrive will morph from a Web site to cloud service with Windows 8

      This is all great news. SkyDrive's always been excellent but such a massive wasted opportunity. The fact Live Mesh uses a subset of SkyDrive has infuriated users for years. It looks like this will finally be fixed.

      It's great to see a Windows 8 Metro app BUT also Vista/Win7 support too. Explorer integration in Windows 7/Windows 8 will be so useful. I currently use the decent SDExplorer to copy/move files/folders in Explorer but something official would be nice.

      It's also great to see a feature of Windows Live Sync 2009 (replaced by Live Mesh 2011) whereby you could access your hard disk remotely is returning. I don't always want to "sync" everything. Incidentally a Microsoft support rep told me it was removed because it wasn't secure enough. I guess they've fixed that.

      All this really gives OS X Mountain Lion's iCloud integration a run for it's money, especially when that offers no general cloud storage at all (compared with 25Gb for SkyDrive).

      What about Android though? There are unofficial third party apps but come on, release an app to accompany your iPhone/Windows Phone apps.
      bradavon
      • RE: How Microsoft SkyDrive will morph from a Web site to cloud service with Windows 8

        @bradavon
        It is super easy to map SkyDrive as a regular drive letter and use it like just any other drive in Windows 7.
        x I'm tc
  • Can someone explain to me why ...

    ... Live Mesh eschews Windows XP, MS' own OS, having about the second largest market share of any OS, yet MS struggles to ensure its various services wind up on iOS, Android, the Mac, etc.? Does MS seriously think that people with multiple Windows machines are going to upgrade all their machines, just to use Live Mesh? MS has ceded the synch market to Dropbox and other competitors, because of this incomprehensible position. This just plain makes no sense to me.
    P. Douglas
    • Windows XP is out of mainstream support

      @P. Douglas

      New features aren't coming for it, so stop waiting for them to.
      Joe_Raby
      • So, success in the sync market ...

        @Joe_Raby,<br><br>... is not important to MS? MS' current position ensures that it will fail over the next couple of years. If ever there is a service MS should ensure is on every platform, it is Live Synch - because increasing its reach, increases its growth.
        P. Douglas
      • Sorry, but no

        @P. Douglas

        ....and neither is supporting tech luddites.

        Whats honestly gave you the idea that Microsoft is somehow giving up on cloud storage anyway? That a technology company won't support a 12-year old operating system with new features? Do you ever read what you write sometimes?
        Joe_Raby
      • I'm not saying that MS should ...

        @Joe_Raby,<br><br>... offer support for Windows XP in all areas. After all, MS still supports Windows XP with security updates. Also, MS' failure to support IE on Win XP, has contributed to IE's decline in market share. <br><br>Now, if you are going to seriously offer a sync service, the more operating systems your service is able to reach, the more appeal it will have to users. It is absolutely silly for any company to ignore the second largest OS segment out there, when doing so is a deal breaker for the majority of users.
        P. Douglas
    • RE: How Microsoft SkyDrive will morph from a Web site to cloud service with Windows 8

      @P. Douglas

      Actively supporting an 11 year old OS is far more foolhardy. Microsoft is working on it's THIRD post XP release! Get off your high horse and get with the times!
      Jeff Kibuule
    • RE: How Microsoft SkyDrive will morph from a Web site to cloud service with Windows 8

      @P. Douglas: Windows Live Essentials 2011 (which includes their current sync option: Live Mesh), Internet Explorer 9 it's the way Microsoft work. Office 2010 supports Windows XP but I bet Office 15 won't. <br><br>They have to cut the cord at some time and Windows XP is completely out of support in just over 2 years. BTW XP barely gets any security updates or hotfixes any more.<br><br>You probably don't know that Apple are worse in this regard. A version of Mac OS X as old as XP certainly can't run modern Mac OS X software, not even a chance.<br><br>Besides the Skydrive website will continue to work in XP and if you want Explorer support check out the third party SDExplorer. It works well (XP and above).
      bradavon