An exciting few days for personal cloud storage – and SkyDrive

An exciting few days for personal cloud storage – and SkyDrive

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This week, we’ve seen a welcome update from Dropbox, a new chapter for SkyDrive and the long awaited emergence of Google Nessie. Is it only Wednesday? Smile

We’re very encouraged by the response we’ve received this week, and it’s hard not to be pretty happy when we hear positive feedback on all of the improvements we’ve made and the value we provide vs. other solutions. But the most exciting thing for us has been the response from our customers. We’ve been thrilled to hear from you on Twitter and blogs, and we’ve had an overwhelming number of downloads of SkyDrive across Windows 8, Windows 7, iOS and Mac. We're listening to your feedback for the future, and we’ll keep adding storage and bandwidth as fast as we can. Thank you!

What do comparison charts leave out?

With this week’s events, it can be fun and useful to compare features across services. We’ve seen these charts across the web, and of course we recently updated our own chart.

However these comparisons often neglect one thing. Is each provider actually trying to build similar experiences? As we look at the category, we see our approach with SkyDrive is increasingly unique.

We don’t think people want another file cloud to manage. They don't want an app cloud tied to one browser, social network or ad network. They don't want yet another proprietary device cloud. People want a cloud that seamlessly connects their files to the apps and devices they use every day.

Over a billion people rely on Office apps and their Windows devices every day to create, capture and share from anywhere. That’s why we’re building personal cloud storage for our customers that works seamlessly with Office and Windows.

Of course we know Office and Windows customers have other devices and use other apps. We want them to enjoy SkyDrive too, so we’re working to make it available anywhere – directly and in partnership with developers.

As we do all of this, there should be no doubt that our business model is aligned with your interests.

A few things to try today

So how exactly will SkyDrive let you work seamlessly with Office and Windows from anywhere? We thought we’d share a few things you can try today.

  1. Word, Excel and PowerPoint: Work across web and desktop, online or offline - no conversions, no compromises

    With SkyDrive for Windows and Mac, you can easily work with documents using the Office apps you love – Word, Excel and PowerPoint – from anywhere. Unlike other services, you can do this without converting between formats or compromising on features. Below is a short video to demonstrate along with a few tips for collaboration.

  2. OneNote: Capture notes, voice clips, scans and more on the go. Access and search later

    Over the years, people have called OneNote a hidden gem. Thankfully more people are discovering it with the launch of OneNote for Android, iPhone, iPad and Windows Phone. Use your phone to take notes, record voice clips, scan documents and sync them instantly to SkyDrive. Your stuff is pushed to OneNote 2010 on your PC where you can organize and search – even audio and images. You can share notebooks with your spouse, friends or teams who can use OneNote Web App - free.

  3. Fetch files in Windows: Turn your PC into a private cloud to access any file, not just what’s in the cloud

    Moving files to the cloud offers many advantages – particularly for sharing and collaboration. However, you shouldn’t have to upload everything just to access it anywhere. With “fetch”, SkyDrive works seamlessly with your Windows PC so you can access any file from anywhere. You can even stream videos. Windows transcodes your video automatically to fit your connection.

  4. Windows 8 Consumer Preview: Every app connects to the cloud, no setup required

    With SkyDrive for Windows, the cloud is another folder on your desktop. Any existing Windows app that can access the file system can now access SkyDrive. SkyDrive for Windows 8 also brings a seamless cloud experience to new Windows 8 apps. This opens up new possibilities, for example, using SkyDrive together with apps available now in the Windows Store like Mail, Docstoc and Skitch.

Please try these out today, share your feedback – and tell your friends. In the coming months, you’ll see SkyDrive continue to bring seamless personal cloud storage to Windows and Office that’s available anywhere.

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  • Pedrool
    18 Posts

    another problematic issue: PDFs don't open in IE9 or FF.  An Adobe Reader error pops up, even when trying to open in browser, saying "File does not begin with %PDF-. then a livefilestore url is listed.

  • Pedrool
    18 Posts

    Microsoft might want to ensure that Office for Mac works with the new Skydrive. Since the update, many users, including me, have seen their edit abilities broken while using MS Office for Mac. the Document Connection app no longer works.

    I'm using Office for Mac 2008, with Document Connection 12.3.2 and Excel/Word 12.3.2. It worked fine while editing Office docs and xlsx up until about May 8, 2012.

    Here's the forum on Microsoft Answers where people like me are sharing their troubles with DC.

  • Minime
    3 Posts

    Hello, good start but please, allow users to choose what to synchronize with Skydrive for Windows. Because, I have few Gb of photos archived on my Skydrive and I don't want to download them again during the install (SSD) Thank you alot.

  • I am not going to be like some people and beg Microsoft to save Live Mesh, but I sincerely hope that the ability to sync files where I want and sync from computer to computer without having to upload to the cloud will be maintained. This combination of features is currently not available anywhere else, though there are 2 companies that I have found that have alphas and betas out that do this (I just wish I could get in on one of them). What it comes down to is that I need this combination of features, and hope that it is integrated into SkyDrive if/when Live Mesh is killed off. If not then sadly I may have to find another company that does this.

  • abm
    268 Posts

    For web developers, check my blog @

  • SkyDrive doesn't allow you to keep folders synced between computers without having them also in the cloud. Mesh does.  Favorites and settings syncing between Windows 7 and 8 is possible in Mesh. This is essential if some of your computers use 7 and others 8. I want many large files synced between computers that I don't want in the cloud. Syncing over a local area network is fast compared to uploading to the cloud at 1 Mb/sec. Please keep Mesh available to users along side SkyDrive. Just remove the cloud syncing from Mesh since it's included in SkyDrive.

  • Oh, and can you get Apple to adopt DeltaSync? Or put DeltaSync in Outlook 2011? Or make Hotmail work like Exchange (not EAS)?

    Hotmail works great on iPhones, iPads, etc. But it is really hard to explain how to use (without resorting to POP3 - don't suggest that) using a Mac mail client.

  • Please don't kill Mesh!

    I know someone inside MSFT said that P2P sync was too hard to support in addition to the cloud sync. So everything was going to route through the cloud.

    But, I really want to send large quantities of RAW photos (lazily) while I'm on the road back to my Windows Home Server 2011 without going through SkyDrive's storage (there's no reason to put them there).

    Mesh lets me do that. SkyDrive won't.

    I like other parts of the SkyDrive app. But the I use Mesh for the P2P (without the cloud) folder sync. And also supporting family computers (via P2P sync for files and remote desktop access).

  • spring
    14 Posts

    Dear Skydrive and Live group, thanks for your wonderful work! We have been using Skydrive a lot to share data in our research and it is really convenient. But we have met a problem in using Skydrive: we created a Live account with an email *.edu to share data in the group. To make life easier, a simple password was used for this account. Unfortunately, the account was hacked and deleted recently. In the current Live ID system, if the password is stolen, then the account can be easily deleted, no matter how many account recovery email addresses or cell phone numbers are added. Although for account created with Hotmail or, the deleted account can be recovered (in 270 days?), for those created with customized email addresses, it seems that there is no way to do that. In our case, when we try to re-create an account with the email *.edu, it is not permitted.

    Here is a suggestion: when an account is being deleted, can you also send a verification code to the cell phone or receovery email address associated with the account? Although it is easy to create an account with Hotmail or, but many people may prefer to use other email addresses. Especially, a more secure Live ID system will definitely help Skydrive to become a better cloud- based platform. Thank you!

  • You guys are pigeonholing your revenue potential to Windows-based operating systems.  Microsoft should also develop and SELL an Office client (including Word and Excel) that truly is optimized for mobile on iOS and avoid having users fumble around trying to edit documents in the browser.  Office Live Web Apps is not mobile friendly for touchscreen input, regardless of what platform's browser accesses it.  I like the iWork apps, but they aren't compatible directly with SkyDrive's storage.

  • @ Hotmail & as well as skydrive team:

    Now this is what is called as integration. This ability (i.e. to save attachments directly from Hotmail to skydrive) has been demanded by many users but you have not done anything in that area. I think this is why people refrain from using skydrive and hotmail.

  • Hemingray
    85 Posts

    While all this sounds nice, I still can't trust any "cloud" with anything of mine.

  • Junctions

    You need to cover how to use Junctions to Sync folders from various locations without having to move them into the local SkyDrive folder.

    Too many people want the 'Mesh' features and don't realize that they can achieve virtually every Mesh feature using SkyDrive now, especially when combined with Junctions and #3 'Fetch'...

  • controlz
    145 Posts

    Love the new SkyDrive features. I think the desktop app is a big win - from what I understand (I haven't used it myself), the Google Drive Windows app only provides links to the docs online, with no offline access and trouble converting between GDocs and Office formats. And that's a deal breaker. But SkyDrive stores the files locally, is available offline and supports Office formats! :D Go SkyDrive!

  • Pedrool
    18 Posts

    Too bad the free GB allowance couldn't be 8 GB instead of 7. You know, because of Windows **8**. Maybe the marketing team either didn't think of it or have enough influence over dev. Because Skydrive is winning the PR battle right now over google drive and dropbox with more free space, every time Skydrive's superior GB count is mentioned is a lost 8 branding opportunity to reinforce Windows 8.

  • Jobinoy
    9 Posts

    Awesome! That was really missing!! But i now love it even more!

    the thing that I would love, would be a possibility, to save an attachement that someone sent me directly to skydrive... it's now almost possible if i'm on my home computer with the skydrive desktop app installed... but if could do it directly from hotmail... that would be perfect...

  • @Babu About Word on Office Online the idea is not bad but it need to be improve, because sometimes you write at the same place where someone else is already writing and you don't know it until you make a refresh.

    Seriously I think it will be much better if you make the same system as Google.

    You also need to improve the speed of sync in Excel and Note to see changes made by coworkers  more quickly!

    Things are going fast and Google is going really fast

  • I REALLY love SkyDrive these days. Definitely a deal maker.

  • RTBones
    8 Posts

    My only hope is that you do not force us to use SkyDrive.  There are still some of us in the world that would prefer to keep things local.  When I do decide to share something with family, a friend, or a colleague - be that a document, spreadsheet, or picture - I hope that I can do that from my desktop and not have to load whatever I am sharing to a cloud.

  • Are there any plans for integrating Live Mesh (features, storage space, etc) into skydrive?

  • First, the new skydrive is great.  The integration of office and frankly other apps is truly the missing link in most cloud options.  The one thing that mesh really had a leg up on and I hope you will add to skydrive soon is the ability to have multiple folders located on different physicial drives sync to skydrive seamlessly.  

    I hope that skydrive will evolve like many other Windows and Office products where there basic UI is simple and 'just works' but for more advanced users or those with different needs the tools are highly flexible.  So far, the biggest missing 'advanced' feature is bringing together folders physically located on multiple drives.  

    I also agree about the search feature needing some work on the web interface.  I tried to search for a filename and the search feature found text within my documents and failed to simply locate the filename I was looking for!  As multiple gigs of data collect on the skydrive a powerful search engine will be necessary.

    Thanks for your hard work.   This is a great tool and look forward to future innovation here.

  • Are there any plans on making sync of multiple folders possible from the Windows Skydrive app?

  • I use IPTC/Core metadata extensively in my photos. It would be helpful for people with whom I share photos via SkyDrive to be able to search image metadata. For example, Descriptive Tags, Geotags, or date taken...

  • gorzko
    24 Posts

    I think you should rename SkyDrive to Briefcase now...

  • Bruno H
    6 Posts

    Please add support for Live Groups in the skydrive App! I share documents through Live Groups with a lot of people and we would love to be able to sync those documents to our computers to!

  • @sabyari - Thanks for your support! We're working on getting the word out. Good overview video here for friends:

    @EnriqueE -  Excel and OneNote Web App let you see updates without refreshing. For Word / Word Web App where an entire document flows together, our goal has been to let authors type in their section without interruption - while also giving them the option to see updates from others when they want.  Good feedback on the other points. As for sharing , you can click File / Share to email a link from within any web app.

    @hdw - great suggestions

    @IL - This refers to the SkyDrive feature called Fetch - which is different than remote desktop. It's described above in the blog post and shown in this video:

  • IL
    15 Posts

    What's the "Remote access" feature for as in the chart Is it similar to Windows Live Mesh Remote Access?

  • xpclient
    50 Posts

    Windows XP desktop client please. Google Drive, Dropbox all support it as it's the most popular operating system Microsoft continues to ignore:

  • hdw
    25 Posts

    I use skydrive through the web interface. Things are a still bit clunky there. The search function needs a lot of work can't seem to handle anything other than office docs! I desperately need image/folder/search by permissions etc;

    Integrate skydrive more into hotmail. For instance I should be able to get links from skydrive directly through the mail interface

    Also I upload my source files that I email to skydrive . It would be great If I could view those atleast as plain text documents within the site itself.

  • abm
    268 Posts

    TFS with SkyDrive would be a great integration and helps lots of developers.. private project with private cloud !!

  • Great job. But, you need to make some improvements in Office Online. If I compare it to Google Docs:

    First, you have to refresh the document each time you want to see an upgrade made by coworker if you are working at the same time on the same document. On Google you do not have to refresh, you see directly what all your coworkers are doing, it is quite useful

    There is also the fact that you cannot see pages , user cannot know on which pages he is and he cannot add number on pages.

    To end , i think it will be good if you add the possibility to directly send a file by e-mail when the work is over

  • sabyari
    5 Posts

    Good stuff... You guys did a great job, do more advertising. I'll create a simple email about this great product and send it to my contacts this weekend. This is a great product and deserves to be No.1...