Microsoft's renamed Windows Live SkyDrive service gets a refresh

Microsoft's renamed Windows Live SkyDrive service gets a refresh

Summary: Microsoft has, indeed, decided to dump the "Windows Live Folders" branding and go with Windows Live SkyDrive for its cloud-storage service that is in beta test. Microsoft also has refreshed the beta of SkyDrive and added a couple of new features to the offering.

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As LiveSide.net predicted, Microsoft has, indeed, decided to dump the "Windows Live Folders" branding and go with Windows Live SkyDrive for its cloud-storage service that is in beta test.

SkyDrive was one of the codenames Microsoft used for its storage service during its development. (Microsoft is saying that LiveDrive also was a codename for the same service and is not something distinct, as opposed to recent Microsoft information which indicated that LiveDrive and SkyDrive were not one and the same.) When the company announced the initial beta of the cloud-storage service, it changed the name to "Windows Live Folders." Now Microsoft is going back to Windows Live SkyDrive as the final name for the service.

Microsoft announced its rebranding plans on August 9. The company also refreshed and added some features of the SkyDrive service. Microsoft tweaked the SkyDrive user interface; added the ability to drag and drop single files or multiple files for upload; provided a new "thumbnails view"; and introduced an area designed to show other customers' SkyDrive folders visited recently.

A Microsoft spokeswoman noted that SkyDrive is still in beta.

"We look forward to extending the beta more broadly as we ramp up the service and begin collecting customer feedback, but we have no timeline to share at this time" for when the service will go gold.

Chris Overd, one of the main guys behind the independent LiveSide.Net site, was upbeat about the SkyDrive refresh, but noted that Microsoft has yet to up the amount of available cloud storage, something which could give SkyDrive even more consumer appeal.

"This update is a significant update to the Skydrive service, resolving several major issues that users had. Of course the biggest selling point for an online storage service is capacity, something which the team is yet to increase. This could ultimately be the key strength of the Skydrive service over existing competitors, and so the final amount may not be revealed until the end of the beta," Overd said.

Update: An interesting aside comes from Softie Dare Obasanjo, who notes that the SkyDrive team includes a number of Microsoft folks who worked on the old Project Max team. Microsoft discontinued Max, its photo-sharing technology initiative, in October 2006.

Update No. 2: Looks like Google didn't take the SkyDrive announcement lightly. At the end of the day on August 9, Google unveiled details of its own cloud-storage offering, which will be priced starting at $20 a year for 6 GB of storage.

Anyone out there dabbling with the Microsoft SkyDrive beta? What's your verdict so far?

Topics: Microsoft, Storage, 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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7 comments
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  • skydrive experiences

    Hi Mary,
    I've posted some experiences here: http://blogs.conchango.com/jamiethomson/archive/2007/08/09/Windows-Live_3A00_-Folders-becomes-SkyDrive.aspx

    Old links no longer work - that is bad.

    -Jamie
    jamiet
  • My 2 cents

    Hello,
    I have been playing with the SkyDrive for some time now. Till now I think it?s pretty good. The whole process is pretty intuitive and easy to use. With the latest update we can easily drag and drop files and upload them. Over all it?s a fair update and nice service?but I think this product should be directed more toward consumer who want pretty interface and more option.
    I would like to see some other things like:
    1. The Live drive should show up in the Explorer as one of the drive.
    2. We should be allowed folder icons of our choice or they should provide different icons. It could allow Xbox Live gamer tag as icon or other cool graphics for general consumer.
    3. An easy upload capability with Windows Mobile Device
    I know it?s still in beta so I am hoping for more options in future.

    Rohit
    rohitharsh
  • TALK ABOUT CONFUSION....

    The name changing by MS would confuse the masses. LIVE FOLDERS,
    made sense. Thought about subscribing when available but now feel
    since MS has their "heads somewhere besides in the clouds" we
    will consider alternative service.
    CustomComputers
  • They might want to consider

    Providing a good parachute with
    their "Cloud" projects and "sky" drives in
    order to prevent a splat like the one Vista
    has made.
    Ole Man
  • It's Decent

    i like that it is online storage from a decent company. it seems so many of these kinds of services come and go in a whiz bang like fashion. With promises of 10 Gigs or what have you. 500 Megs may be scanty, but is plenty to share some office docs, and keep some music for yourself. But if it were increased and added the option of network storage in Explorer, that would be welcomed as well :)
    Associated Press
  • RE: Microsoft's renamed Windows Live SkyDrive service gets a refresh

    Great application but should be seamlessly integrated as "cloud drive" into windows!
    paul@...
  • RE: Microsoft's renamed Windows Live SkyDrive service gets a refresh

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