The SkyDrive has been very busy lately. The company recently announced new features and unveiled a new logo. Yesterday morning, the SkyDrive team discussed at length changes and improvements coming in the
Metro Modern SkyDrive; hours later, it has gone live. The new SkyDrive blurs the line between a Metro Modern Windows 8 app and a Metro Modern UI website. The behavior and functionality available in the Metro Modern SkyDrive is the next step in personal cloud storage. The service is no longer a dump of files from various desktops that syncs and is available on the web but the service is based on file types.
Three major improvements in the
Metro Modern SkyDrive:
- Synced desktop browsing
We first saw synced desktop browsing back in October; during BUILD, Microsoft showed what then seemed like a huge feature for SkyDrive. Last night, it went live for everyone. You can now browse a Windows machine that has SkyDrive installed and synced in your browser. This isn’t a Citrix/Team Viewer like control but the Windows file structure can be browsed as it is on the machine, this means your drives and folders as shown in My Computer on that machine.
Unfortunately, you cannot stream music files from your machine within the browser just yet. And neither do the Office files open in Office Web Apps—they have to be downloaded.
- Contextual menus & file drag
This is a feature that makes SkyDrive feel more like an app. The menus within SkyDrive will now change based on whether you’re performing a function on a folder or a file.
The Modern SkyDrive will behave much like a desktop app with multi-file selection and drag to arrange. While this doesn’t seem like a big deal when you read but as we are now programmed to drag files around on the desktop, this implementation on the web will only feel natural.
- The Modern UI
Big tiles for touch and mouse, clean interface designed based on the
Metro Modern principles, SkyDrive now feels like an extension of the new Outlook’s web interface. It departs from the Windows XP/Vista/7 interface that SkyDrive sported and shows why the Metro Modern interface is beautiful.
Here’s a video from the SkyDrive team introducing the Modern SkyDrive: