Microsoft OneDrive to get differential sync in Q2 2017

Microsoft's latest OneDrive roadmap shows Q2 2017 as the ship target for a long-awaited feature: Differential sync.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft roadmaps are fluid things -- sometimes so fluid that a subtle change may go unnoticed by many (especially me).

Credit: Microsoft (January 2017)

A prime example of this: The OneDrive roadmap.

I hadn't noticed until a reader (thanks @BrokenCanoe) asked me yesterday when and if Microsoft planned to provide differential sync in OneDrive.

Last February, Microsoft listed differential sync -- the ability to sync only the parts of files that had changed, not entire files -- as a firm commitment, but with no specific public release target.

Differential sync is a much-requested OneDrive feature, as it will save time and bandwidth. And it's a feature that OneDrive rival Dropbox, for one, already has.

At Ignite in October 2016, Microsoft's updated roadmap slide didn't mention differential sync at all. See that roadmap slide here. (Confession: I didn't notice at the time.)

But as of the January 2017 update to the OneDrive roadmap -- embedded in this post above -- differential sync is back. And it's now listed as a Q2 calendar 2017 deliverable. (Thanks to @Danielst for posting the slide from this Microsoft Tech Summit roadshow presentation on OneDrive for Business.)

In addition to providing differential sync in Q2, Microsoft also has committed to providing RMS sync and the ability share from Explorer. Microsoft provided the promised SharePoint Online Sync and Shared Folder sync last month.

The January 2017 version of the OneDrive roadmap also lists several improved photo-related capabilities, including the ability to upload camera roll photos, support for smart photos, including optical character recognition and whiteboard cleanup, and auto-tagging of photos -- some, if not all of which are available in preview now.

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