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