Microsoft Rolls Out Major Update of SkyDrive Cloud Storage

With the recent launch of last month came new attention for SkyDrive, and some new features.

Hard to believe that Microsoft's cloud storage service, SkyDrive, came out of beta testing way back in 2008, yet it is just starting to get some significant media attention the last 12 months or so.

It took some time to get out the bugs and earn consumer loyalty over such trusted early cloud storage movers as Amazon, EMC Mozy, Carbonite and others. After all, Microsoft hadn't been known far and wide as being a cloud service provider.

That's finally beginning to change. With the recent launch of last month came new attention for SkyDrive--and some new features, which were introduced Aug. 14.

The service got a big upgrade in November 2011, and it's had an iPhone app since late 2011. The new, modernized includes updated apps--and for Microsoft, a clear path to and its 10 million users; a nice, round number it claims as of this month.

Good Reception from Early Movers

"Since we launched the preview two weeks ago, we have been truly humbled by the reception," SkyDrive staff member Chris Jones wrote in the SkyDrive blog Aug. 14. "We've received hundreds of great comments, participated in thousands of threads on @reddit, @gizmodo, @neowin and are excited to share that, as of today, more than 10 million people have signed up and started using

"Today, we're updating SkyDrive with a new, more modern Web design, refined SkyDrive apps for PCs and Macs, a new SkyDrive app for Android devices, and improved developer offerings. While there's always more to do to improve our products, these updates bring SkyDrive out of preview and ready for a billion users--in time for the upcoming releases of Windows 8, the new, and the new Office."

New Features

The updated SkyDrive, downloadable here, includes the following:

  • New, modern design for desktop and tablet browsers with instant search, contextual toolbar, thumbnail multi-select, drag-and-drop organization, and HTML5 sorting.
  • SkyDrive for Windows desktop & OS X: Faster uploads for people around the world and tons of bug and performance improvements under the hood.
  • SkyDrive for Android: A new app that lets you access, upload and share from Android phones.
  • SkyDrive for developers: Apps built using the SkyDrive API can now store or access any type of file in a person's SkyDrive, plus there's a new, easy-to-use file picker API for Websites (similar to Microsoft's file picker for Windows 8 apps).
  • Users can now search for a file anywhere in SkyDrive, including the content of Office documents such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

You can see screen shots and descriptions of more features here.

"With the update to that's rolling out over the next 24 hours, we've taken the same DNA from the SkyDrive Windows 8 app and brought that to the Web," wrote Omar Shahine and Mike Torres, group program managers for SkyDrive, in the blog. "We've updated nearly 100 percent of the SkyDrive UI to provide a fast and fluid Web experience on all browsers and devices."

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...