As of Wednesday, users were receiving new SkyDrive updates, which include a “Metro” or “modern” user interface. SkyDrive, which is made available to users via Microsoft’s Internet cloud, generally provides 7 GB of free storage, down from the previous 25 GB that earlier SkyDrive users received. Microsoft offers a pricing tier for extra storage, ranging from 20 GB at $10 per year to 100 GB at $50 per year.
SkyDrive users get a few new perks with the upgrade. There’s a new search capability to find Office documents stored in the cloud, as well as a “contextual toolbar” at the top of the screen for easier access to commands. Microsoft added the ability to select multiple files in the thumbnail view for rearranging photos. It’s also now possible to drag and drop files and folders. Photos now can be sorted by date. Photos will upload 1.7 times faster with the new update, according to Microsoft.It uses the same tiles-based layouts as the Windows 8 app but utilizes some common elements from the rest of Outlook.com, including the gray navigational bar on the left—where, in SkyDrive, you gain access to search, (all) files, recent docs, groups, PCs, and other options—and a right-mounted Details pane that is collapsed by default for a cleaner look.
You can also do multi-select drag and drop from within the SkyDrive web interface. This kind of stuff is currently impossible in Microsoft’s half-finished Windows 8-based apps infrastructure. Microsoft still provides just one folder for synchronizing changes between SkyDrive storage and devices. Its engineering team is currently working on a future solution that will enable users to specify which SkyDrive folders they want to synch.
Microsoft has yet another consumer cloud storage system called Windows Live Mesh. It’s similar to SkyDrive but has greater sync controls. Microsoft may be trying to eliminate Windows Live Mesh by attrition. Microsoft’s SkyDrive cloud storage solution for consumers has left the preview stage, the company announced this week.