SkyDrive gets simple app-centric sharing for Office, powerful file management, HTML5 upload, other updates

Posted on February 24, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Last week, we shared our approach to designing a personal cloud storage service for billions of people. Today, we’re excited to release an upgrade to SkyDrive.com to address key feedback. You should expect to see the new SkyDrive release in the next few hours. Follow SkyDrive on Twitter so that you can be one of the firstpeople to know when it’s live.
Here’s a video that quickly walks you through the changes to the service.
We have a long list of improvements that we set out to make to SkyDrive. While not all of the feedback we’ve received is addressed, we feel that this release is a big step forward—especially for the growing number of customers using SkyDrive to share and access Office documents.

Simple app-centric sharing, particularly for Office docs

As we look to the future, we know people increasingly think and work in a way that is “app-centric,” that is, they want something that just works from whatever application they are already using. So for example, when collaborating on a Word document, they want be able to share it in as few steps as possible – ideally without having to leave Word in order to set permissions or move it around to different folders. And they definitely don’t want to have to think about their folder structure or which email service their friends happen to use.
In the past, SkyDrive has made this difficult. We built the experience around discrete folders that were either private (“Documents”) or shared (“Class documents”). So how you wanted to share also dictated the way you organized your data. Also, sharing on SkyDrive was designed to work best when you shared files with people in your Windows Live network. Meanwhile, the most common scenario—sharing or collaborating with friends or colleagues across email services or other networks—was often a complex and unreliable process.
As a result, we rebuilt fundamental pieces of SkyDrive to simplify sharing and make it more app-centric, particularly for Office. For example, let’s say you’re working in Word Web App on a document in one of your private folders. Now you can Share from within the app and complete your task, without having to think about the structure of folders or subfolders. This is possible since SkyDrive now lets you share or permission individual files within a folder. This works for Office documents, photos, or any other type of file.
But we didn’t stop there. We also redesigned the sharing process – to make it much easier to share with people across email services and networks.
Sharing is easier on SkyDrive
When you click Share in the SkyDrive info pane or from the File menu, you can now do a few things:
  • Share via email. Enter any name from your address book, including contacts from LinkedIn, Facebook and Gmail. (If you want to import the email addresses of your Facebook contacts, first connect Facebook to Windows Live and then go to http://profile.live.com/connect and click the Facebook logo.) Since SkyDrive now uses your email address to send a sharing invitation, it reaches your friend’s inbox, not their spam folder. And when you select “Recipients can edit,” you can now collaborate with anyone, even if you don’t know their Live ID in advance.
  • Post to your networks. SkyDrive connects to many different networks, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, so that you can upload your photos and documents once and share with friends across networks.
  • Get a link. For many people, the easiest way to share is to grab a URL and send it to yourself, or paste it into another browser. Now, you can choose a View only link when you’re sharing something private, a View and Edit link when you want to allow the recipient to edit an item, and a Public link when you want to share something with anybody who can access the Internet.
The sharing experience is one that only happens when you choose to share something. Everything on SkyDrive that you upload is private until you tell us otherwise.

Powerful file management

As soon as we released the SkyDrive updates in June, we received a ton of feedback that you like the fast performance of the service, but doing many actions was slow and cumbersome.
In this release, a number of file management tasks are now “instant”. Now you can:

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