Microsoft Refreshes SkyDrive Cloud Storage

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Microsoft releases SkyDrive for Windows app and improves services before Google Drive arrives

Microsoft has upgraded its SkyDrive cloud storage service, introducing SkyDrive for Windows Desktop and a number of new features.

The improvements come ahead of the expected launch of Google’s rumoured rival service, Google Drive.

Take to the SkyDrive

“In February, we told you about our goals for connecting your apps, files, PCs, and devices to the cloud with SkyDrive and Windows 8,” said Microsoft in a blog post. “Since then, we have provided the App Preview of a Windows 8 app to access SkyDrive, and we’ve updated the SkyDrive web experience. Today, we are delivering new capabilities for SkyDrive across the Windows platform.”

SkyDrive for Windows has been released as a consumer preview and allows users to view their files via Windows explorer on Windows Vista, 7 and 8. Files can be dragged and dropped, with all processing done in the background. A special folder stays permanently in sync with SkyDrive and can be added to the document and picture libraries in Windows 7 and 8.

These features are already available with SkyDrive’s rival Dropbox, which earlier this week announced that it was adding new collaboration features to its own cloud storage service. A new fetch feature has also been added and allows users to easily access, browse and stream files from a remote PC running the preview app to just about anywhere via the SkyDrive website.

SkyDrive’s iPhone app has also been upgraded with the abvility to delete, rename and move files, while a new iPad app will offer the same capabilities along with support for the new retina display. Apple Mac users will now be able to view files in Finder, with Microsoft recognising that 70 percent of Mac users also regularly use a PC.

The structure and pricing of the service has also been altered. Microsoft says that new SkyDrive users will receive 7GB for free, claiming that it provides enough space for 99 percent of people to store their documents. Additional storage can also be purchased, but any user who signed up for the free 25GB service will keep their capacity.

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