How to Use the 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 domain. The links are furnished via Microsoft’s partnership with Since, it is 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’.


  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.


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

[Screenshots] Amazon Joins Consumer Cloud Race With Desktop Clients

In the past few weeks the consumer cloud industry has seen some exciting announcements. Microsoft updated SkyDrive with several useful features like:

  • ODF Support
  • Desktop clients
  • Remote file browsing from within the browser
  • Dropbox-like single folder sync and storage
  • Paid storage
  • Updated mobile apps

These updates were announced just days before Google introduced the much awaited Google Drive. Like SkyDrive, Google’s consumer cloud storage and sync service has:

  • Desktop clients
  • Multi-format support
  • Single folder sync and storage
  • Paid storage

The other big player in cloud storage and cloud products—Amazon—too launched desktop clients for it consumer cloud. Unveiled to little fanfare, Amazon introduced desktop clients for users to upload files to their Cloud Drive account on Amazon. The desktop clients just help you upload the files and there is no Finder or Explorer integration. The Windows and OS X clients are the same, after installation a cloud sits in the taskbar for you to drag files to upload. Some details about Amazon’s cloud drive:

  • Free 5GB
  • Paid expansion up to 1000Gb for $1000 a year
  • An ugly web interface
  • Integration with Amazon’s Cloud Player

Here’s are screenshots of the desktop app:

Tour of the Amazon Cloud Drive app:

Preferences available:

You can download the clients from Amazon’s site.

Microsoft Goes After iDisk Users To Get Them On SkyDrive

Apple introduced MobileMe as a cloud service for iPhone users. A web interface for email, tracking the phone and a cloud storage service called iDisk. Unfortunately for Apple the product was not received as well as the company hoped leading to a complete overhaul of what Apple visioned with iDisk and MobileMe. The new product as most of you’ll might know is called iCloud. As iCloud was rolled out to everyone, existing MobileMe users were asked to migrate to iCloud, the process was not very difficult from what I remember. In fact it was simple enough for me to forget which means there were no complicated steps involved.

Anyhow, Apple will discontinue iDisk in June and expects most of its user to have shifted to iCloud by then. As the date nears, Microsoft is attempting to get some iDisk & iCloud users over to the new SkyDrive. The SkyDrive folks have created two videos explaining how you can move your data from iDisk to SkyDrive and how SkyDrive is better than iCloud.

Video 1: How to move from iDisk to SkyDrive

Video 2: iCloud not enough? Try SkyDrive

SkyDrive Insists That Email Attachments Suck; Urges You To Switch to SkyDrive

After the recent refresh of SkyDrive and the introduction of SkyDrive for Windows app, the online storage service from Microsoft is focusing on educating users how sharing files via SkyDrive is a better approach than sending attachments in email.

Head to and learn easy steps to get started. Don’t miss – The life of an attachment: complex, annoying, and time wasting! – a comprehensive infographic showing the life cycle of an attachment, stressing on the wastefulness and inefficiency of the exercise.


SkyDrive allows you to share documents, photos, and files with anyone you choose and it’s automatically available from any device. You can even work together on Office documents in real time. Here’s how to get started:

  1. If you don’t already have one, get a Windows Live ID and you’ll see SkyDrive in the top navigation. Click, and just add files.
  2. Select the file you want to send.
  3. Click Share, and then select the kind of permission you want to give to people you’re sharing files with by checking or unchecking the Recipients can edit box.
  4. Click Send.

The special micro-site allows you to send Ecards to your friends via Facebook, Twitter, or email hinting them that it is annoying when they send attachments in email and asking them to get setup with a SkyDrive account to save themselves and you some time. Forget the marketing pitch, I think I should do this for lot of my old-school friends who send huge files, back and forth, as attachments. SkyDrive, or any online storage service for that matter, is a better way to share files and to collaborate on them.

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 | 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.

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:

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.


[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.


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., 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.


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]

Microsoft Responds To Google Drive News With Minor SkyDrive Update

Google is expected to unveil Google Drive sometime this week. The upcoming cloud storage, file sharing and sync service will be competing with Microsoft’s SkyDrive and Dropbox. Google Drive might end up being an integral component of Android and affect Dropbox that has so far been the best option.

Microsoft’s SkyDrive, while ignored by pundits, has been winning users and supporters quietly by steadily. The service is a key part of Microsoft’s tablet centric OS—Windows 8. As announced earlier by the team, SkyDrive will be morphing into a service more on the lines of Dropbox, this has many early adopters and power users, like me, miffed. In becoming more like Dropbox, SkyDrive will give up some much loved features like P2P sync and individual folder sync. However, the service is competitive and if Microsoft lets users who know about Live Mesh continue using Mesh, life will be good.

Anyhow, back to the recently announced SkyDrive update. The service powers the photo experience on Microsoft’s Windows Phone devices and the quick ‘share pictures to Twitter’ feature uses SkyDrive. The picture is uploaded to a SkyDrive folder and the link is shared on Twitter. Unfortunately till a few hours ago, the pictures shared had an ugly URL. It was long with too many characters. While on some clients Twitter’s service displayed a short URL, Twitter’s web interface showed the ugly URL. Starting today, the URL shared on Twitter will be Microsoft’s own short URL starting with ( shows nothing but accompanied with some other characters it will point you to an image shared. For example.) That’s my biggest pet peeve fixed.

The other update announced today is support for ODF documents and sharing to Twitter. Here’s a screenshot:

The third and probably a handy one since Mesh is on its way out. SkyDrive now allows uploading individual files of up to 300MB in size.

More SkyDrive Features Leak, Major Update Ahead of Google Drive Planned

With Google’s cloud storage service—Google Drive—expected to debut sometime soon, the SkyDrive team at Redmond is gearing up for  an update of their own. yesterday Paul Paliath wrote about some features spotted by Rodrigo Ghedin at GEMIND, these included:

  • Paid expansion for SkyDrive
  • Desktop clients for SkyDrive

Paul expects a discontinuation of Windows Live Mesh but I believe Mesh will now be superseded as a product by SkyDrive. Mesh won’t be discontinued but the Windows Live Mesh client (for Windows & OS X) will now offer support for SkyDrive folders and be known as the SkyDrive client.

Today, Damaster writing at LiveSide has shared with us some more features quite likely to be a part of SkyDrive’s next update. Here’s what Damaster shared:

  • Option to share SkyDrive albums on Twitter
  • Short URL for SkyDrive (
  • Support for ODF formats (.odt, ods,odp) in addition to Office formats (.pptx, .docx, .xlsx)
  • BitLocker recovery key management
  • Remote access to files on your desktop from within SkyDrive (Mesh offers this but let’s just say it doesn’t work)

These are some major updates to SkyDrive as a service and clearly indicative of Windows Live Mesh not being known as a consumer product anymore. The SkyDrive team has been hard at work with the service getting consistent updates.