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Microsoft is trying hard to show people that they are serious about online storage, and I’d say they are doing a darn good job of it. They just updated their SkyDrive online file storage service with numerous new features, but more importantly they bumped up the free storage quota from a mere 5GB to 25GB. While the new limit sounds rather appetizing you should take into consideration that they do restrict individual file sizes to under 50MB. So no, you won’t be able to upload your video library.

Here are some of SkyDrive’s features (new features are highlighted in green):

  • Storage: Store up to 25 gigabytes (GB) of photos and files.
  • Organization: Arrange your files in top-level folders and subfolders that you create.
  • Control: Choose permissions for each top-level folder that you create. Keep your photos, files, and favorites in personal folders so only you can access them; in shared folders so you can share them with your Windows Live network, your extended network , and people on your contact list ; or in public folders so that they can be viewed by anyone on the Internet.
  • Flexibility: Upload any photo or file up to 50 megabytes (MB) in size, and move, copy, delete, rename, and caption your photos and files after you upload them. Entire folders can be downloaded as a single ZIP file.
  • Display: Photos saved as the JPG, JPEG, GIF, BMP, PNG, TIF, and TIFF file types display with thumbnail images, and can be viewed by other users on SkyDrive or in an online slide show, if they have the right permissions to view them.
  • Sharing: Share links directly to your folders, files, and photos, or embed your photos and files in your blog or webpage. You can also share files with users who don’t have a Windows Live ID, and they won’t be required to create an account.

The only thing the service lacks is a way for people to bulk upload files and folders through a desktop application. Having to go to the site and upload items one-by-one can get rather frustrating, but I suspect that’s how they are getting away with offering such an enormous amount of free storage. Lifehacker did find a free tool that will let you do just this, but I’d still like to see something come from Microsoft.

You may not agree with me, but I believe SkyDrive could be on the verge of becoming a terrific social network for sharing files. People can upload files and photos that can then be shared with friends, family, and colleagues. I have to give credit where credit is due. I thought for sure Google would beat Microsoft to the punch in terms of online file storage, but they proved me wrong. Bravo!

Sign-up for Windows Live SkyDrive

There Are 15 Comments

  1. They’re definitely doing better, but not there yet. They need to make all their online storage, sync & share tools work better together: SkyDrive, Mesh & Sync (FolderShare). If they can incorporate versioning such as Dropbox (or AS3 w/ JungleDisk), then they’d have me. Until then, it’s a combo of Dropbox and Sync (FolderShare) for me..

  2. There is one type of file that you can bulk-upload using free software: you can upload images using Windows Live Photo Gallery.

    It seems like photos are their focus (going up against Flickr and Picasa Web Albums?), since they also updated photos.live.com with several new & improved features and integrated the storage seamlessly with Skydrive. [blogs.msdn.com]

    Compared to the limitations of Flickr’s free accounts (100 MB uploaded per month, only 3 albums), Microsoft’s 25 GB of storage and 50 MB per-file make it no contest.

  3. Microsoft does offer an IE addon that allows drag-and-drop bulk uploading. The download link only appears if you are using Skydrive with IE; if you access it only with Firefox you won’t even know this exists.

  4. Dropbox FTW, i just hope they come with more extra plans than just the 50gb.

  5. I like the Windows live stuff, thinking about dropping my Jungledisk with AS3 subscription, bút i still need the integration for it all. I have office live workspaces, Live Mesh, Live Skydrive etc. Buts its all different services, and where is the integration to backup my home server ?? :). So ill stick with paying for AS3 and Jungle disk.

  6. Is it even close to reasonable/smart to trust your data, privacy, etc., to Micro$oft or anyone else online in the land of Homeland Security, the Patriot Act, RIAA, MPAA, etc.?

  7. Change wrote:
    They’re definitely doing better, but not there yet. They need to make all their online storage, sync & share tools work better together: SkyDrive, Mesh & Sync (FolderShare). If they can incorporate versioning such as Dropbox (or AS3 w/ JungleDisk), then they’d have me. Until then, it’s a combo of Dropbox and Sync (FolderShare) for me..

    Combining Live Mesh and Skydrive would definitely be the perfect solution in my opinion.

    Joe wrote:
    There is one type of file that you can bulk-upload using free software: you can upload images using Windows Live Photo Gallery.

    Nice catch! I didn’t know that you could use Windows Live Photo Gallery with Skydrive.

    Anonymous wrote:
    Is it even close to reasonable/smart to trust your data, privacy, etc., to Micro$oft or anyone else online in the land of Homeland Security, the Patriot Act, RIAA, MPAA, etc.?

    That depends… I never put data on third-party machines that I truly care about getting shared at one point or another.

  8. SkyDrive isn’t anywhere near convinient as using services like Dropbox (which is bound to get better with the final release).

    P.S. IF you are worried about security/privacy, just encrypt your important docs before you upload them, or use a TrueCrypt virtual drive to store stuff on ;)

  9. Hey, how about ADrive.com? Free 50GB quota, free Java uploader works in any browser (Chrome :) ) w/ no installs necessary, lets you upload entire file directories up to 2GB per upload, even has free backup program to auto-upload to ADrive.

  10. Does Skydrive offer resume support for download manager?

  11. netster007x wrote:
    Hey, how about ADrive.com? Free 50GB quota, free Java uploader works in any browser (Chrome :) ) w/ no installs necessary, lets you upload entire file directories up to 2GB per upload, even has free backup program to auto-upload to ADrive.

    I’ve heard someone say that if you legitimately reach the 25GB limit on SkyDrive that they will actually give you more storage for free. They’ll just be checking to make sure you’re not hosting any illegal content or abusing the system. So it’s quite possible that you could get over 50GB with SkyDrive.

    Michael Dobrofsky wrote:
    SkyDrive isn’t anywhere near convinient as using services like Dropbox (which is bound to get better with the final release).

    Right now, yes, Dropbox is better. But give it a few months and I’m sure Microsoft will be bringing over some of their synchronization or Live Mesh tools that will take care of the same kind of thing.

    Navjot Singh wrote:
    Does Skydrive offer resume support for download manager?

    I’m not actually sure, but if I had to guess I’d say that they do support download managers.

  12. Is Skydrive RAID 0 protected? Am I silly to ask?

  13. Skydrive webpage activated my webcam and took a lot of time to load the page (waiting for the webcam to be activated). When I switched my webcam off then it made Internet Explorer crash.

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