Today Microsoft relaunched Windows Live SkyDrive, incorporating HTML5 and taking advantage of recent browser advances to provide a better experience for accessing and sharing Microsoft Office documents, photos and more in the cloud.
SkyDrive has emerged as a single service for access and sharing across Windows, Office and smartphones including Windows Phone, iPhone and Android.
Microsoft claims that the new Skydrive is faster. The time it takes to perform common tasks such as clicking on folders and navigating photo albums will drop from 6-9 seconds down to 100-300 milliseconds. The new SkyDrive takes advantage of hardware accelerated graphics and advancements including HTML5 video tag to support playback of H.264 videos (with support for files of up to 100 MB). And with IE9 on Windows 7, users can pin SkyDrive to their taskbar for even faster access to the files they want.
The new SkyDrive brings together all photos, docs, and files into one view. Navigational elements and layout are now consistent with Windows.
The new also SkyDrive removes previous design elements so photos now fill the browser. Also, photos are presented in their original aspect ratio, and with the new best-fit grid, pictures are laid out so users can see them all, including panoramas.
Primary strengths of SkyDrive include the sharing of Office documents in the cloud, access and sharing of photos across devices, particularly with Windows Phone, and the fact the service is free.
Microsoft announced deeper integration between SkyDrive and Windows Phone on June 7. With the release of Windows Phone "Mango" later this year, users will be able to share photos stored on SkyDrive via email, text, or IM. They will also be able to share videos immediately after shooting them, with the upload happening in the background.
Windows Phone brings instant access to docs in the Office hub so users can view folders and files directly on their phone.
In addition, SkyDrive will continue to offer a mobile Web app at SkyDrive.com that works with iPhone, Android and other modern smartphones for viewing and accessing Office docs and other files. Also, the OneNote app for the iPhone brings access to notes stored on SkyDrive from anywhere.