The technology industry is a lot like living here in the UK. It’s not a matter of if, but when the cloud arrives. What still separates them though, is that we largely welcome what the virtual cloud rains down on us.
All the leading players are latching onto the concept of the cloud, and each in their own way is trying to make it their own. Apple has iCloud, Google has a range of services too extensive for an introductory paragraph, and Microsoft has Windows and Xbox Live.
We have already seen How to Install Windows 8 on VirtualBox and also how to run it on Mac OS via Parallels. Recently we also wrote how Microsoft is trying to compete with services like DropBox and Google Docs Storage by introducing new features to SkyDrive.
Windows Live has included SkyDrive for a while now and it’s long been my opinion, particularly since the arrival of Windows Phone last year, that SkyDrive is an incredible resource and priceless asset to Microsoft’s growing ecosystem, that strangely remains untapped. Well, that’s about to change.
What’s New in SkyDrive in Windows 8
When we talk about SkyDrive in Windows 8, currently by most accounts, the product itself remains unchanged. It’s what’s being layered on top of it that will revolutionize Microsoft’s range of products.
Currently, all SkyDrive really offers on Windows is a web-based portal for storing up to 25GB of files and folders for free, but Microsoft has now unveiled the first fleeting glance and the integration of SkyDrive into Windows 8 at an OS level.
The photos app built into every copy of Windows 8 adopts the typical Metro UI, brand new in the OS, and similarly to the photos app in Windows Phone 7, features a ‘SkyDrive’ album, in which reside all the photos that you’ve stored in the cloud.
Within the app, you can pull up any photos stored on your local device or indeed in your SkyDrive album, and instantaneously share them via Mail, as shown in the video, or by the looks of things via a number of other streams including Facebook and undoubtedly Windows Live.
Usually, sharing photos via e-mail can be a lengthy and problematic approach, but with SkyDrive integration in Windows 8, the photos are not uploaded and sent via e-mail, which is restricted by a limited file size.
Instead, they are uploaded to SkyDrive and shared via the cloud, meaning you can easily send, more as a link than a file, as many photos as you like and your Internet connection can handle.
One use of SkyDrive not mentioned in the video is its usefulness as a backup solution. Keeping all of your files in the ample cloud space means that if you lose your device, it is stolen or broken, for example, you have the peace of mind that your photos are held in the cloud behind the secure lock and key that is your typical Windows Live ID.
In Windows Phone, any photos you take are automatically uploaded to your SkyDrive account, though it remains to be seen whether this functionality will be extended to any you take (on a tablet camera, for example) or import.
Developers, Developers, Developers…
You may or may not have seen Steve Ballmer’s somewhat hilarious speech calling Developers to Microsoft to which this sub-heading refers, and if you haven’t a quick Google (or Bing) search will see to it, but the point is that they remain to be the focus of the company’s attention.
Third-party developers will be able to integrate SkyDrive cloud storage into their own applications and make use of all the advantages by migrating some of the content of said apps to the cloud.