Chat with Google Friends in - SkyDrive Uploads 2x Faster, Adds "Timeline view"

Google chat integration rolling out worldwide to SkyDrive and users. SkyDrive photo timeline and uploads now 2x faster. OneNote Web App now supports viewing and editing of password-protected sections. now support Google Talk, letting you chat with your Google friends. With this feature, "the next time you're reading an email from someone who uses Gmail, you can reply with a quick chat right from your inbox," Microsoft says.

And if you're working together on an Office document in SkyDrive, you can send an instant message to a Google contact with just a click.

"When you open the Messaging pane in or SkyDrive, you'll see a message that helps you set up chat with your Google contacts. Just click it to get started; setup will only take a minute. As part of setting up the connection, you'll see Google's authorization flow. This is how Google helps you control which services can access your Google information. Clicking "Allow access" will allow Microsoft's chat and contacts services to connect to Google and set up chat. You're in control of this connection and can change it at any time at," explains Microsoft Office team.

That's it! In just a few moments, you'll see your Google contacts appear in your contact list. Click on their picture to start a conversation with someone or search for any of your Google contacts right from the Messaging pane.

Google Talk Chat in

The messaging experience works across your inbox, calendar and People contact list, as well as "If you're working together on a document with a Google friend, you can be chatting with them at the same time without leaving SkyDrive," Microsoft said.

You can even share a link to the document and edit it together in real time!.

Skype app for Windows, as well as for Windows Phone 8 is now available.

Skype 2.6 for Windows Phone 8 "increases chat reliability, increases call notification reliability, and improves call reliability to phone numbers. The update also fixes the occasional missing message preview in the recent conversation list," the Skype team stated.

And, the Skype 6.3 for Windows addresses quality and stability of the application.

Download Skype 2.6, and Skype 6.3 for Windows here.

Microsoft is also rolling out a new SkyDrive feature called "timeline view" for SkyDrive albums and folders as well as faster uploads to the cloud service.

Microsoft claims the tweaked server code and the app improves upload times by as much as 2x to 3x.

The new "timeline view" makes it easier to see all photos based on the date. "In the timeline view you can scroll down to navigate through all the images. They're organized into groups by event and time. Take 20 pictures at a birthday party with your phone, and then a photo of your parking spot at the airport a few hours later? Now they'll appear as two different groups in the timeline," Microsoft explains.

SkyDrive timeline view

SkyDrive will also feature a filmstrip view, so you can see your photos in a slideshow.

In addition, full resolution camera uploads (of photos and videos) from Windows Phone 8 along with, thumbnail previews for Power Point and Word files are also added on SkyDrive.

"Thumbnails make it easier to find the file you're looking for, and so we're also introducing some changes to our thumbnails view. We worked hard to improve the readability of the files and folders you have in SkyDrive and are introducing new thumbnails for your PowerPoint and Word files," Microsoft explained.

SkyDrive New layout for thumbnails and now PowerPoint and Word docs get thumbnails

In other news, OneNote Web App now supports viewing and editing of password-protected sections.

In a blog post Microsoft explained that, "Enabling of accessing password-protected sections for the OneNote Web App allows you to access your sensitive information from anywhere. After opening a password-protected section, you can edit its contents, change the section color, create new pages, and even edit the section name."

"When you are finished using a password-protected section, you can manually re-enable password protection by selecting Lock Section in the right click menu shown above. You can also allow the section to automatically lock itself after 10 minutes of idle time," the office team added.

The feature is immediately avialable to all Office 365, and SkyDrive users.

To access a password-protected section:

  1. "In the navigation pane, click the section's tab.
  2. Click anywhere on the viewing surface to unlock the section. When prompted, enter your password, and then click OK.
  3. You can now view and edit all pages contained in this section. For other tasks, right click on the section name in the navigation pane," explains Office team.

OneNote Web App Password protected section

Also, released today is an unpdate to Windows Essentials 2012, (formerly Windows Live Essentials). The update build 16.4.3508.0205 is appears to be a bug-fix and performance update.

Are you noticing anything new with Windows Essentials 2012? (We got the update by re-installing from the Essentials home page).

Update 05/15: In a new video advertisement for its cloud storage service "SkyDrive," Microsoft showcases a robot that destroys a laptop, ultimately destroying the files that were on the drive.

"Put your files in SkyDrive, so even if you lose or break your device, you can easily get them back," the video description reads.

Check out the video below: