Few days ago, Microsoft has declared a cloud war on the top dogs by introducing the revamped SkyDrive – a Microsoft-trademarked cloud storage service. As sure as egg is egg, other contenders should have felt the static shake at their feet now. And whether they brace for the upcoming challenge, here is what SkyDrive can do for you, check it out:
What is SkyDrive?
The name tells. SkyDrive is virtually a storage drive that is kept at the sky (cloud) and will follow you to almost every places you go. In other words, you can easily get access to any documents with a computer, tablet or mobile phone in your hand. Sharing files with people is a cinch and couldn’t be secure more with SkyDrive.
Not only the accessibility can be shared with others, the authorized person can also edit the supported document on the fly within a browser, without the need to install others software.
Pricing and Free Plan
By courtesy of Microsoft, every user is offered a free whooping 7GB after signing up. As well, all the application and software are free to download too. If you required bigger storage capacity and feel comfortable with the service, upgrade is always available up to 100GB with the following prices:
- 20GB: $10 per year
- 50GB: $25 per year
- 100GB: $50 per year
*In all cases, this storage comes in addition to the 7GB of free space
Compatibility and Features
Technology is improving at the speed of light. Multitude of electronic products pop out everyday. As a result, it’s a norm to see a walking gadget bin on the street. After all, there are plenty of creative ways for a person to carry gadgets while they are walking. Some even have the sixth sensors to serve as walking guidance, they just look at their hand when walking.
All the ado above proved only one important thing: Modern people love to use various gadgets for wide range of purpose, and they just like product which is compatible to all their gadgets. In short, compatibility is the key and clearly Microsoft has taken this key seriously but yet to achieve perfection for the latest SkyDrive.
1. Mobile Phone Supports
Except for Android, SkyDrive has dedicated application for iOS devices and Windows phone. With the supported phone, you can set the sharing permission of each single file, upload phone photo and video with a built-in resizing feature, and even view most of the common file format such as Microsoft Office documents, PDF, and images. Surprisingly, you can watch and listen to the video and mp3 file with your phone too.
For Android user, you can still use the SkyDrive. The workaround is to open your phone’s web browser and head to SkyDrive. Instead of using application, you can view all the files via the browser.
2. Group Sharing and Editing
Frankly speaking, the sharing and built-in editing feature of SkyDrive are impressive though. It’s so thorough and complete. Not only you can share the file link through the email for some official use, you can also link it to social networking site plus other service platforms for casual sharing.
If you’re a blogger or webmaster, you can generate an embed code in the form of HTML to integrate any file in your website flawlessly. Meantime, you can also set different permission whether the recipient is allowed to edit the file or require them to sign-in for each single shared file.
3. Remote Access
In addition to all the drooling features, remote access is the cherry at the top. To unlock this feature, you would need to key in a security code which will be sent to your email upon request. After that, you can get access to the entire hard-drive of the connected computer, ranging from few KB text file to HD video file, from the web browser. It’s like putting your whole computer to the cloud. But of course, the designated computer must be wired to the internet in first place.
Fly in the Ointment
Image source: Schwarz1981
Rather than saying the drawback of SkyDrive, ‘room of improvement’ should be more appropriate, and indeed it has more than a room:
1. No Selective Sync
One of the most useful feature of cloud storage service is the automatic file synchronization. As mentioned earlier, we possess multiple gadgets and computers, and transferring files through the USB would not be cool anymore. Needless to say, SkyDrive has integrated the automatic synchronization feature, however, it doesn’t have the option to select which folder to be synchronized. It’ll just upload everything in the “online-drive” to the cloud and sync across all the connected devices. Apparently, this drawback has made SkyDrive pretty lack of flexibility and customization.
2. No Change Log
It is a good idea to share and let anyone to edit the files stored in the SkyDrive. As an owner, I feel more secure if I’m aware of what happened to my shared file; SkyDrive should have a report or log to tell who has made changes, what has been changed, and other detail information.
3. No History File
Dropbox would save the deleted files up to 30 days. You can easily retrieve any accidentally deleted file within the period. Unlike Dropbox, SkyDrive doesn’t have such backup feature. As such, if you have deleted a file intentionally or inadvertently, there is no way you can get it back.
4. No Offline Access for Mobile
The iOS application of SkyDrive doesn’t allow you to save file to the device. Hence, you must connect to WiFi or internet-enabled network in order to utilize SkyDrive at your phone. The workaround for this is to export and save the file to other application, such as, Dropbox or Good Reader.
Other Noteworthy Features:
- SkyDrive allows users to upload maximum file size of 2GB via the desktop client, and only 300MB for the web browser.
- Browser-based editing feature supports Microsoft Word, Excel, Power Point, and One Note Documents.
- Open Document format (Open Office) can be viewed and edited at the browser too.
- All the file format will be preserved upon editing.
- All the new users will get only 7GB of free storage space, while the existing users can upgrade the storage space to 25GB for free.
This is quite obvious the motive of Microsoft’s SkyDrive is to lay a red carpet for the upcoming Windows 8. Regardless of what those big boy wanted to do, free stuff is always welcomed and no harm to give it a shoot. Furthermore, SkyDrive is the freebie offered by Microsoft with many undeniable great features. No doubt, SkyDrive is one of the indispensable cloud storage service you may want to use and it is extremely promising. After all, you can just get a 7GB online storage for free.
Lastly, we’re interested to know what do you think about the latest SkyDrive, and do you find any ‘hidden’ feature of it? Sound it off at the comments, folks!