Microsoft is all hands on deck to compete with Google’s upcoming Google Drive. In a massive SkyDrive upgrade that launched today, SkyDrive now behaves like Dropbox while integrating well with iOS, OS X, Windows and WP7. Here’s the important stuff first:
- Desktop app for Windows & Mac (in addition to Windows Phone & iOS app)
- 7GB free storage and sync
- Updated mobile apps (Windows Phone 7 & iOS)
- Retina display compatible iPad app
- Remote browsing into your desktop from the browser
Let’s take a closer look at the pivotal feature—the desktop app:
The app is aimed at Windows desktop & OS X allowing users to have one folder, the contents of which are available on all desktops, within the SkyDrive folder. As a Live Mesh user I don’t like feature but Microsoft this was clearly an engineering challenge. Maintaining the folder paths on different machines was a challenge that Microsoft could do without. And since everyone understood how Dropbox works, it made sense.
So here’s how the OS X app looks like:
The app is simple and like Dropbox, there’s a SkyDrive folder in my favorites list. However, the part I don’t like is, SkyDrive downloading everything I have on SkyDrive to my desktop. I use cloud storage to free space on my desktop and still have access to my content.
Unfortunately on Windows, the app needs UAC access (unlike Dropbox) that limits me from installing it on campus PCs but then I have web access so who cares.
In simple terms here’s what has happened:
Till yesterday every SkyDrive had 25GB free storage with 5GB of sync. From today, the default free is 7GB and here are the paid tiers:
The good folks at Microsoft are offering a limited-time free upgrade to 25GB for existing users. So go get it here: sdrv.ms/skyloyalty
Updated mobile apps:
Yesterday Microsoft announced an update to their SkyDrive mobile app for Windows Phone 7. The update brought some nifty feature additions:
- Batch selection
- Manage sharing permissions
- People Hub integration
Today, there’s an update to the iOS SkyDrive update bringing these features to Apple’s ecosystem and supporting the iOS Retina display resolution for the iPad.
This will soon become my favorite feature. Announced and demonstrated a while back, SkyDrive on the web now sports a Metro meets Explorer interface. You can now see your Computers that have SkyDrive installed within the browser and remotely access your content, even stream media. Here’s what the interface looks like:
I still love Live Mesh as the desktop client and would prefer it continued to live for those who know about it.