Finally, Microsoft today officially unveiled a major update to their Windows Live SkyDrive cloud storage service, complete with a new UI, new features, significant performance improvements, as well as a bigger file size limit -- doubling from 50MB to 100MB per file.
Unfortunately, while the single file size limit has been increased to 100MB in this update, the total SkyDrive storage is still 25GB. Also, the "SkyDrive synced storage" for Live Mesh is still currently separate from the main SkyDrive storage.
"So starting today, we're launching a new version of the SkyDrive website. We took advantage of modern browsers and HTML5 to make SkyDrive faster, easier to navigate, and more beautiful for viewing photos. The new SkyDrive will be rolling out soon, so check back if you don't see it right away," the team stated.
Here's a list of new features and improvements in the new SkyDrive:
- Caching and hardware acceleration - Common tasks and scenarios, like clicking on folders and navigating photo albums will go from 6-9 seconds down to 100-300 milliseconds. We took advantage of hardware accelerated graphics to make it fast to skip through slideshows.
- Support for HTML5 video tag - Playback H.264 videos (with support for files of up to 100MB).
- Pin SkyDrive to your taskbar - With IE9 on Windows 7, you can pin SkyDrive to your taskbar for even faster access to the files you want. Create Word, Excel or PowerPoint docs stored in the cloud in just one click.
Is Easier to Navigate.
- All your content in one place including SkyDrive groups - We brought together all your photos, docs, files shared with you and files in SkyDrive groups into one view. We took elements of the common file system you're used to on Windows and Mac OS so navigating SkyDrive is more intuitive.
- Quick views - We incorporated navigational elements and a layout that's consistent with Hotmail (Quick Views for recent docs & files shared with you).
- Information pane - We removed ads to create room for a pane of information about your files -- so you can take actions such as opening a doc in Word or Excel on the desktop directly from SkyDrive.
Photos are More Beautiful.
- Mosaic layout - We got the chrome out of the way to let your photos fill the browser. We create thumbnails that reflect the original aspect ratio of your picture. Portraits, landscapes and panoramas can retain their personality even in thumbnail mode.
- Clean arrangement - Regardless of what size screen you've, how big your browser window is, or how many photos you have, SkyDrive always arranges your photos into a perfect, clean square. In achieving this, we use CSS3 Transitions to add life to your photo album by animating thumbnail rearranging when you resize the browser window.
- Living, breathing presentation - When viewing your albums, SkyDrive pulses through your thumbnails, letting you experience the contents of an album even before diving in.
- Infinite scrolling - We no longer have pages in the photo viewing experience; you just scroll the page and quickly see your photos fill in. It looks and feels like a native application.
Also, note that instead of a ad on the rightside of the SkyDrive -- visitors will see a contextual menu, and can click on the blue "i" information icon for more granular control of SkyDrive folders and files.
To see how the "Live Tiles" - like photo album thumbnails "pulses", or how the CSS3 transitions actually looks like, check out the video below:
[Source:Inside Windows Live]