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Microsoft Unveils Revamped SkyDrive Cloud Storage Service

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August 15, 2012

Microsoft Unveils Revamped SkyDrive Cloud Storage Service

By Erin Harrison, Executive Editor, Cloud Computing

As competition heats up in the cloud storage market, Microsoft (News - Alert) has unveiled several upgrades to SkyDrive, moving its cloud storage service from the “preview” stage to a fully operational service.

While many of the new features are aesthetic, other enhancements include improved search and organizational experiences. The upgrades include a new Web front, faster uploading and sorting, new tools for developers, and a forthcoming SkyDrive app for mobile devices that run Google Android (News - Alert).

Perhaps the most obvious change is the new home page, which organizes documents into folders and files and presents them on tiles similar to those used by Windows 8 and Windows Phone (News - Alert), Information Week reported.

The home page also offers a tool that allows users to instantly search the contents of their SkyDrive account, including searching for information within Office documents.

“We’ve updated nearly 100 percent of the SkyDrive UI to provide a fast and fluid Web experience on all browsers and devices,” SkyDrive group program managers Omar Shahine and Mike Torres, said in a blog post Tuesday. “With these updates and continued improvements to our back-end infrastructure, we’re excited to leave preview and unlock new possibilities for a billion customers with the upcoming releases of Windows 8, the new Office, and tons of devices and apps that connect to SkyDrive.”

In addition, the SkyDrive client for Windows and Mac OS X has also been updated: for example, photo uploads are now up to 1.7 times faster, according to Microsoft, and syncing of files between the desktop and SkyDrive cloud is faster and less resource intensive.

“We focused on minimizing CPU time while looking for changes, which has significantly reduced the total work that we do on every scan – meaning a much faster sync experience and more time for your CPU to tackle its other tasks,” said Shahine and Torres.

According to Microsoft’s tests, syncing between the desktop and the cloud is 300 percent faster on the new, non-preview version of SkyDrive.

Developers looking to integrate the SkyDrive storage option directly into their apps will also notice benefits from the revamped service.

“With these changes we’ve addressed a few of the top items of feedback from our developer community and can’t wait to see the interesting innovations that our customers will get to enjoy, now that this functionality is available,” Shahine and Torres added.

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Edited by Braden Becker

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