How to Use the sdrv.ms Shortener for SkyDrive

Microsoft’s cloud storage service, SkyDrive, has received several updates in past few weeks, and the progressive updates continue to integrate it well across Windows Phone and Windows. While you can share files on SkyDrive via email, and use your friends’ addresses across Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn using the connected address book, you can also get a link to any file or folder on SkyDrive and send that link to friends. You can choose to let friends edit or add files, or choose to make the link read-only.

Although these SkyDrive links have been shortened by about 40%, recently, SkyDrive enabled shortened URLs for these links using the new http://sdrv.ms domain. The sdrv.ms links are furnished via Microsoft’s partnership with bit.ly. Since, it is bit.ly at the backend, the shortened URLs include additional features like adding a ‘+’ to the end of any short URL to see statistics or generating a QR code for that URL by appending ’.qrcode’.

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  1. Select any file or folder on SkyDrive Web, and click on the Share link in the sidebar.
  2. In the Share dialog, click Get a link, and then click the Create button according to the required permissions.
  3. Click the Shorten button next to the generated link to obtain the shortened URL.

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SkyDrive URLs also include OpenGraph support so that you get a neat thumbnail preview when you share the links on sites like Facebook. image

Increase SkyDrive Storage to 25GB Free for Limited Time

The war has just exploded with the introduction of Google Drive earlier today. With Google Drive, now all major mobile operating system providers have some form of proprietary cloud storage solution including SkyDrive for Windows Phone 7 and iCloud for iOS along with several others like , Box and SugarSync.

Also Read: Google Drive vs Dropbox vs SkyDrive | 5 Best Ways to Keep Documents Online

Both and provide users with 5GB storage space for free whereas SkyDrive provides users with 7GB free space out of the box. SkyDrive initially started out with 25GB free space, but it has now cut down the storage to 7GB. However, if you have been an old user of SkyDrive, you will still be able to claim 25GB of free space.

SkyDrive 25GB Space Promo

To reclaim your 25GB of free space in SkyDrive, you will have to login to your account in your browser. Once you do that, you will see a link on the top saying; SkyDrive’s free storage is changing – claim your free 25GB.

SkyDrive 25GB Free Space Upgrade

Clicking on the link will take you to the manage storage page where you will be given an option to upgrade your storage. Just click on the “Free upgrade” button to increase your storage to 25GB. This option will only be available for a limited time to users who have already used Windows Live SkyDrive in the past. New users will only receive 7GB of free space.

If you are unable to get 25GB in SkyDrive, there are still several other options available including free 50GB space from Box if you are an user and up-to 18GB storage in Dropbox from referrals and free space.

Download Google Drive for Android, Windows and Mac

It was no secret that Google was working on a competitor to and SkyDrive and the official announcement came today. will provide users with 5GB of free space to all users. This is in line with Microsoft’s recent announcement to provide 7GB of free space for SkyDrive.

Google Drive

Google Drive will tightly integrate with and allow users to create and store documents, spreadsheets, presentations, PDF files and more and collaborate with friends and family online.  Additionally, Google Drive will also provide users with apps for PC, Mac and .

Also Read: Google Drive vs Dropbox vs SkyDrive | Google Drive, Another Privacy Disaster

Google Drive will directly compete with the likes of Dropbox and SkyDrive on PCs and mobile devices. It will also be an answer to Microsoft’s SkyDrive on Windows Phone 7 and iOS devices which is not available for Android devices. Dropbox on the other end is available for all mobile devices and also supports Linux. However, their initial free space is only 2GB which might potentially go up now. Additionally, Dropbox also allows for 16GB additional space from referrals.

Also See: Get 50GB Free Space for Android from Box.net | 5 Best Ways to Keep Documents Online

Google Drive will also provide users with a search functionality which will also make use of OCR to search images and scanned documents thanks to their acquisition of reCaptcha. This is definitely a big plus for them.

You can download Google Drive for your computer or device by using the link below; an iOS app will be released soon:

*Please note that the Android app is a rebranding of the Google Docs app for Android.

Google Drive, Another Privacy Disaster

Google France accidentally shared all the details about Google Drive before the product’s official announcement. The product is integral to Google’s Android ecosystem like SkyDrive is to Windows and iCloud is to iOS/OSX and has a some useful features like wider file format support and better search.

Sundar Pichai’s blog post that detailed Google Drive talked about how Google will offer better search capabilities. Here’s what he has to say:

Search All. Search by keyword and filter by document type, owner, activity, etc.. Drive can even recognize the text content of a document scanned by technology OCR. For example, if you download the scanned image of an old newspaper clipping, you can search using one of the words quoted in the article. We have even begun to tap the image recognition: if you upload a picture of the Eiffel Tower in Drive, the next time you search the term [Eiffel Tower], the image will appear in the results

*Emphasis mine.

While the search feature sounds all kinds of exciting, Google scanning all the documents I upload seems a little scary. The company is notorious for using such information to target ads and I see no reason why they won’t go through my documents to know more about me. OCR or Optical Character Recognition will enable Google to store the contents of documents somewhere with them. I am not sure the ability to search for my document should come at the price of corporation knowing the contents of my documents.

This is not about proprietary information but simply about keeping them out of my business and only offering me services.

Google Drive Details Unveiled

We all know Google’s cloud storage service is expected to be officially announced any time soon. As it turns out, Google France got their time zones wrong or jumped the gun. In a post published on the Google France blog, Google’s VP Sundar Pichai shares features and details their yet-to-be-announced product. (The post has been removed.)

According to the blog post, here’s what Google Drive is all about:

  • Accessible at drive.google.com (not at the point of writing)
  • 5GB free storage space
  • PC, Mac and Android applications will be available (iOS not launch but soon; WP7, I doubt it)
  • It has paid expansion plans just like SkyDrive—25GB for $2.49/month, 100GB for $4.99/month & 1TB for $49.99/month; expensive when compared to SkyDrive’s 20GB for $10 a year!
  • Google Drive will support 30 file formats including ability to open Adobe’s Illustrator and Photoshop files in the browser in addition to HD video streaming, PDFs etc. (this is probably their best feature!)
  • Google Docs integration
  • Searching for content uploaded is going to be a focus for Google

Frederic Lardinois writing for TechCrunch reproduced the entire Google France post. Quoting some of the details about Google Drive:

Google Drive, a centralized space where you can create, share, collaborate and store all your documents.

Next step in the evolution of Google Docs and functionality of downloading any material, Drive will allow you to live, work and play in the Cloud.

Keep your documents securely and access anywhere and any device connected to the Internet. All your documents are just … there. Whatever happens.

Encryption of data transfer between your browser and our servers, and check option 2 in time to prevent non-authorized access to an account by requiring users to log on returning secure code generated from their mobile phone

Drive is designed to work harmoniously with all the products you use – whether Google products or third party service. You can share your photos on Google Drive + and will soon be able to attach documents directly into your emails Drive Gmail.

Microsoft Introduces New SkyDrive For Common Man; Paid Storage, Sync & More

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.

Paid Storage:

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.

Remote browsing:

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.

 

Sharing Dropbox Files Just Got A Little Easier With Public Dropbox Links Across All Folders

Sharing large files with other Dropbox users is super easy, all you have to do is create a new folder within your Dropbox account, dump all the files in this folder and invite your friends or collaborators to the shared folder. This will create a new shared folder on the Dropbox accounts of both you and your friend and all the collaborators can copy files in the shared folder to share files within the group.

This has been a real lifesaver for Dropbox users butit hasn’t been that straight forward, when you’re sharing with non Dropbox users.

Consider you have a bunch of files in a nested Dropbox folder and you want to share all these files with someone who does not have a Dropbox account. Here, you will have to first move all those files to the public folder, grab the public downloadable link and then share it. Too much work and it sometimes breaks your file organization with redundant copies of the same data.

Thankfully, Dropbox has introduced Dropbox links, a new feature which allows one click sharing of files, even if they are not present in the public folder of your Dropbox account.

dropbox-links-sharing

Using Dropbox links, you can quickly share photos, documents, videos, MP3’s, PowerPoint presentations, Word documents and other files with users who aren’t yet using the service. Click the “Get Link” icon next to any file or folder and Dropbox will open the file in a new browser window.

Copy the URL of that file and send it to your friend, all done!

dropbox-links

Here are a few examples:

Code snippet:

codes

Photo gallery:

photos

Videos:

videos

PDF:

pdf

This feature is being rolled out in the web version of Dropbox, Dropbox for mobile and Dropbox for desktop. It would be great if Dropbox introduces auto expiration of links after a given time period, this will make sure that old links automatically expire and the sharing feature is not exploited.

[Editorial] What Google’s Version Of Dropbox Must Do That Google’s Version of Facebook Didn’t

If the rumors are true and speculations are to be believed, looks like Google Drive is going to arrive next week as an advanced Dropbox prototype. With a big fat stomach, of course.

We haven’t heard any formal words from Google yet but according to several reports, it is expected that Google Drive will be available as a web based service, along with a desktop client which would allow users to sync files across computers and mobile devices. This is Google’s long awaited counter to Apple’s iCloud and the extremely popular file sync service, Dropbox. On another front, there is Windows Live SkyDrive, Microsoft’s free cloud storage service which is basically a sleeping giant, kept dormant for years; failing to make a significant impact on users.

Google-Drive

The Need Is Not Gigabytes And Terabytes of Space. It’s Something Else.

You really don’t need 25 GB of cloud space for important files do you? A couple of Gigs should be just fine for day to day documents, photos and other random stuff that needs to be easily synced to multiple computers or mobile devices. If you’re using a cloud storage service as a storage or backup dump, that’s another case and a completely different perspective. Box.net, Windows Live SkyDrive and a slew of other cloud services offer hefty storage space for free but that is not the real point of cloud file management.

The point is sync, cross platform compatibility, mobility, ease of use and core features which even your grandma can relate to.

File Sync is a necessity , space is luxury – no one knows it better than Dropbox.

I am clueless why a billion dollar biggie like Microsoft never took SkyDrive to the next level (until recently). Three years without a desktop client, are you kidding me?  (I missed Windows Live mesh, which supports file sync from desktop. Sorry).Then we have a built in SkyDrive integration in Windows 8 but Dropbox has already won millions of hearts. Too late, Microsoft. It’s too late!

Dropbox has snatched the show and it will be difficult to beat the goodwill and trust Dropbox commands.

Boils down to that core Google philosophy – it is very important to do one thing really really well. Dropbox knows it, their introductory 2GB offering seems childish in front of SkyDrive’s hefty 25Gb free space but like I said, users don’t need terabytes of cloud space. They need ease of use, less hassles and auto sync, which Dropbox provides.

Why Google’s version of Facebook Is a Ghost Town

Now lets look at Google Plus.

Here we have, a Google’s version of Facebook, 150 million users and packed with Googlers from every corner of the world. Mind you, Google Plus is a serious affair these days, the SPY world is analyzing all the social signals and mixing it into SERP’s. Google Plus is everywhere, navigation bar, Gmail, Google Reader, YouTube, Google Adsense, but it is still nothing but a ghost town.

Why?

Let’s hear it through the words of an average internet user and a Google Plus fan boy who tries to convince his friend.

A: Why aren’t you using Google Plus? It is a superb social site where you can interact with friends, follow blogs, read news, join hangouts and do so much more.

B: Yea, but friends are on Facebook. Google Plus, I don’t know what it is and I don’t have the time or energy to maintain another social site.

A: But it is better than Facebook as it is tied with other Google products you use e.g Gmail, YouTube and so forth.

B: Yes but you know what – I don’t care. Friends are on Facebook and I am happy with it. I used Google Plus for a day or two but could not find anyone.

A: But sooner or later, your friends will hop over to Google Plus. Then what?

B: Oh really? How did you guessed that?

A: Simple. Google has so many products we use everyday and now that Google Plus is merged across all of them, don’t you think it makes more sense to use Google Plus as your primary social channel?

B: Listen, I don’t care about Facebook, Google or Twitter. I care about my friends and they are on Facebook. If my friends abandon Facebook, which I don’t think they will anytime soon, I will follow them wherever they go. But I will go where my friends are, not to any social site made by a billion dollar tech company whose other products I am using. Please leave me alone!

The pitch is clear.

Friends, relationships and that comfy feeling. Facebook has already won millions of hearts, how would anyone counter that? Does that imply Facebook will rule the social sphere forever?

No. Certainly not, every tool wears out eventually. But a new social site will only prosper when it provides genuine value, something which has never been done before.

A revolution, a change.

Just look at Pinterest – there is something new in it and it is winning hearts without creating chaos or trying to snatch the meal from Facebook. Google Plus is not doing anything new. Same old thing, wrapped in a new cover and thrown over your face.

The same analogy might get repeated with Google Drive too. 5 GB sounds lucrative but then, users are already comfortable with Dropbox. It will be hard, if not impossible for Google to persuade users in moving their files from Dropbox to Google Drive. Trust me, once a movie becomes a super hit, the sequels merely performs. Human expectations is like a beast, you keep feeding it but it will still want more. At the same time, expectations love to remain glued to their complacent zone, it is very hard to persuade them to abandon their seat and try something new.

If it ain’t broken, why Fix it?

Some possible reactions:

Dropbox gives me 2 GB free space and that is more than sufficient for me. I don’t care about another file sync service, Dropbox just works, now can you please leave me alone for a while?

In 2006, I was using an external HD for backup. Then I found Dropbox and it is awesome. Then came a barrage of cloud storage services, I am sick and tired of trying a new storage provider every other day. Dropbox is cool, I have managed a hefty 10 GB space and it just works.

Google Drive is yet to be born so it is too early to jump into conclusions. But if Google wants to win this race, it has to do something new. Something that users want badly. Let users say “Hell yea, this is it”.

Following are some ways Google Drive can flank Dropbox (or Windows Live SkyDrive for that matter):

  • Auto sync into mobile will give Google Drive a huge edge. Dropbox’s mobile client is yet to support auto sync and if Google introduces this feature, it won’t have to worry about gaining early adopters.
  • Google Docs and Picasa has to be killed. I am sure Google will integrate these two sister services into Google Drive sooner or later, this will force encourage Google Docs users to move their files from Dropbox to Google Drive.
  • Referral bonus is a working viral trigger but Google needs a unique pitch here. Something like refer your Gmail contacts and get more space should work.
  • The ability to import Gmail attachments into Google Drive and sync those files to your desktop. This will lure Gmail users to try Google Drive and if the plan works, Dropbox has no counter for this move.
  • Music. Enough said. Something ground breaking here and Dropbox is in trouble.

Still fascinating to watch how Google gradually takes over every single aspect of our computers.

[image credit]

Box Offering Free 50 GB Space for Android Users

Earlier this year, Box.net dished out 50GB of free space to users of , and as a promotional attempt at gaining more users. It looks like they are back again trying to gain users this time. For a limited time, Box.net is offering users 50GB of free space for logging in through an Android device.

Also Read: Mount Box.net in Windows Explorer

Venture Beat is reporting that Box is offering 50GB space free for lifetime for users who sign in (or sign up) to Box.net using a Android based device. To be eligible for the 50GB free space, download the Box app for Android and sign in or register for a new account. Once you have done that you should see a message saying:

You’ve been upgraded to a lifetime 50 GB account for cloud storage and sharing… Congratulations.

That’s it. You now have 50GB of free space to sync and store your files. Additionally, Box is also giving away 20 Android based tablets to a company who can tell a story on how Box is helping them improve their day to day experiences.

Box is one of the biggest players in the Cloud storage industry and will start to face competition from Microsoft who will be tightly integrating their cloud storage platform SkyDrive with and Google, who will also be launching their cloud storage platform Google Drive in a few months time.

If you are looking for more free , don’t forget to check out our earlier discussions about free cloud storage products which will allow you to sync and store files online.

Google’s Cloud Storage Solution Believed to Be Coming Soon

It appears that Google has had a change of heart, and has finally decided in favor of launching its own cloud storage solution to compete with the likes of Dropbox, Box.net, SkyDrive, and iCloud. The Wall Street Journal believes that Google is very close to launching Google Drive, something that users have been anticipating and demanding ever since Gmail launched with a gigabyte of storage. In fact, Google was almost ready to launch a similar product called GDrive, way back in 2008. However, Sundar Pichai, the current SVP of Chrome and Apps, managed to get the product dumped with a bizarre argument that files are outdated. According to Steven Levy’s “In the Plex”, Pinchai believed that “Files are so 1990”.

“You just want to get information into the cloud. When people use our Google Docs, there are no more files. You just start editing in the cloud, and there’s never a file.”
– Sundar Pinchai

Google’s entry into the cloud-storage arena is long overdue. Both Microsoft and Apple have compelling products in this segment, which are already (or soon will be) tightly integrated with their own ecosystem. Google, on the other hand, has allowed third-parties like Dropbox to take control of the Android ecosystem. What makes the prolonged lack of an online backup solution from Google surprising is the fact that Google is well known for having access to ginormous quantities of cheap storage. In fact, Google already offers plenty of storage to users in the form of Gmail, Google Docs, and Picasa. What it has been lacking so far is an integrated solution to unite its assorted services.

Google-Drive

Like its competitors, Google will be opting for a freemium model. The basic storage plan for Google Drive will be free, with additional storage available for purchase. It will be interesting to observe how Google prices its new product. If it retains the current model of charging $5 per year for additional 20 gigabytes, and $20 per year for 80 gigabytes, it could very well demolish its competitors. It is also likely that at some point, Google will bundle Drive with Google Apps for Android, which should give an instant boost to its user base.

Dropbox famously turned down a nine-figure acquisition offer from Apple. Now, with Google, Microsoft, and Apple setting their sights on the cloud storage market, it will have its work cut out. However, if Dropbox manages to retain its focus on innovation and superior customer service, it will prove to be a tough competitor to beat.