Windows Live SkydriveMicrosoft SkyDrive is a centralized storage place for your files in the cloud. You can use it to manage your documents, files, and photos, and access them from anywhere. It is also a formidable collaboration too, allowing you to share files and collaborate on documents with others.

In the wake of a ton of news about Internet Explorer 8, Windows Phone, and the launch of Office 365, Microsoft has completed a major overhaul of SkyDrive, making it easier to use and far more efficient.

New Interface and Features

In a concerted effort to streamline and interweave their line of cloud products, Microsoft has made major changes to SkyDrive, many of which are very beneficial to the user.SkyDrive Main Interface

Easier navigation:

By incorporating screen elements consistent with the design of Hotmail (e.g., allowing you to quickly view documents recently shared with you), removing ads to make better use of the screen real estate, and introducing an information pane which displays metadata about your files, you can find what you want when you want it. No more fishing around to find the right file.

Windows and Office interoperability:

You can now open your Microsoft Office documents in their respective desktop applications directly from SkyDrive. You can also pin your SkyDrive to the task bar in Internet Explorer 9, so you can access you files even more quickly. If you want to create a new document in the cloud, or upload photos, you can do it with just one click.

Consolidation of your Content:

Your photos, documents, and shared files are all visible in a single view. By making the SkyDrive organization more like Windows on your PC, you will be able to find things more easily, and the navigation will feel natural to Windows users.

Better Photo management:

By taking advantage of CSS3 transitions, the SkyDrive has created a beautiful, useful mosaic view of your photos. No matter how you resize the screen or how large or small your pictures are, SkyDrive arranges your photos in a single, clean, and organized square. When you resize your browser window, the pictures resize themselves and move around to create a new mosaic.

Files in Skydrive

There is a marked improvement in certain areas of SkyDrive. We have listed the major ones below:

Scrolling through photos

Rather than breaking your photos up into several pages, the new mosaic view rearranges the photos and all you have to do is scroll down to see your entire photo collection fill in the space. No more flipping through pages of photos to find what you’re looking for.

See all the photos in an album

If you have several photo albums, you no longer to open each one and search for the photo you’re looking for. When you’re viewing your list of photo albums, the photos in each album become a live slideshow. You can just sit back and watch the presentation until you see the photos you need.

A much faster experience

The SkyDrive team took advantage of your PC’s hardware accelerated graphics, so your experience with photos and videos will be both smoother and faster.

Replaced Silverlight with HTML5 and CSS3

Since Microsoft is killing Silverlight, they moved SkyDrive entirely to HTML5 with CSS3. Support for the HTML5 video tag has also been added, so you can playback H.264 videos.

Storage and File Size

In this massive update, the SkyDrive team increased the individual file size limit to 100MB from 50MB, but did not increase the overall storage quota. Users are still only given 25GB of space, and Microsoft has not announced pricing tiers for additional storage.

Conclusion

SkyDrive’s massive overhaul was in the best interests of both Microsoft and SkyDrive users. Your files are organized more efficiently, the interface is clean and organized, and the speed and responsiveness of the site has increased significantly. Microsoft wanted to market SkyDrive as a front end hub for their other products, instead of continuing to market as a back end to your other Microsoft products.

With this enormous rebuild, they successfully brought SkyDrive to the forefront of their cloud-based offerings. Users will enjoy closer integration between SkyDrive, Hotmail, and Office 365.

The one major disappointment is the maximum individual file size. While other cloud services are allowing you to upload individual files larger than 1GB, Microsoft has chosen to keep the maximum file size at 100MB. This is particularly disappointing since they went through the trouble of adding HTML5 support and playback of H.264 video.

Check out SkyDrive and its new improved features.

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