Microsoft: a new SkyDrive with Windows and OS X client
SkyDrive is starting to increasingly resemble a Dropbox cloud service with a full synchronisation client.
Microsoft recently added numerous improvements to SkyDrive. Until now, this free cloud service always had a web interface connotation. This has today changed with it starting to look a lot more like a Dropbox.
The SkyDrive for Windows Phone and iOS applications have been updated, but the biggest new feature is the availability of Windows and OS X application clients which allow you to have a local SkyDrive folder to update the cloud via synchronisation.
For Mac users – who already have SkyDrive integrated with Office 2011 - SkyDrive integrates with the operating systems Finder. For Windows, the service has been integrated with Explorer. It should be noted that for both OS X and Windows, the releases are both preliminary versions. Could it be that Microsoft anticipated Google’s moves with their Drive service and wanted to cut the grass out from under their feet?
We can also point out that the client application has been designed for OS X Lion and Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 (Consumer Preview). Windows XP is therefore not available.
The integration to Windows and its Explorer makes it easier to put files online and manage them by making drag and drop options available into the SkyDrive folder. This folder even appears as if it was local on the computer, with the maximum file size now increasing 2 GB.
With additional security code, it is possible to remotely access a Windows computer to browse through the files and create video streams through SkyDrive.com.
In terms of storage space, Microsoft has also made a decision that will surely annoy a few users though. By default, SkyDrive’s free storage space is 7 GB compared to 25 GB previously. According to Microsoft, 99.94% of current SkyDrive users use 7GB of storage space or less.
There is good news for old SkyDrive users though. For those that have put files online before the 22nd of April 2012, Microsoft will reward them for their loyalty by freely offering them 25 GB. A link to SkyDrive.com will be made available for this (the offer has been announced as limited).
Otherwise, Microsoft has put into place a plan to allow users to access additional storage space. It will cost $10 per year to add another 20 GB, $25 per year for an additional 50 GB and $50 per year for an additional 100 GB.
With this SkyDrive evolution, Microsoft has given the general public access to a real cloud service with a synchronisation function that goes a lot further than Windows Live Mesh. In addition to this, Microsoft has also integrated the service into the OS X environment... but not Linux.
It appears that the competition is going to be rude for services like Dropbox, with Google Drive to be released imminently.
Download the SkyDrive client (preview):
- Windows ( Vista, 7, 8 )
- OS X ( Lion )
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