Microsoft details Windows 8 and SkyDrive integration, Metro-style app

By Lee Kaelin on February 21, 2012, 2:00 PM

Microsoft has confirmed that their cloud storage product, SkyDrive, will be getting a Metro-style app for the upcoming Windows 8 release, in addition to multiple changes as it looks to compete more strongly against Apple’s iCloud service.

An early version of it will be made available with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview which is due for public release later this month. “We focused on two things: 1) designing a fast, fluid, touch-first version of SkyDrive that makes it quick, easy, and even fun to browse and access your files, and 2) making your SkyDrive available for use from any Metro style app via the file picker (open/save) and the new Share charm in Windows 8,” Mike Torres and Omar Shahine, group programs managers for SkyDrive wrote in their blog post.

The changes make SkyDrive work more like Dropbox as it appears more tightly integrated with the OS than previous versions. It will also be made available for Windows Vista and 7 users.

The new desktop app has been built from scratch using JavaScript, CSS and HTML5. It will allow drag-and-drop upload and download, anywhere access to your data including offline access, and Windows Explorer seamless integration. The end result is files are instantly available and up-to-date across all devices without the need for configuring add-ons or using portable media storage.

“Because of our recent updates to SkyDrive.com, we were able to use the same JSON APIs and JavaScript object model that the website uses. The only difference on Windows 8 is that we bind the results to modern controls that were built for touch. This is part of the reason it’s so fast, and the touch behavior works so well (and works on Windows on ARM too).”

Metro App developers will also find that as long as their app supports opening and closing of documents and photos, it can also support SkyDrive without any further coding work required.

SkyDrive will also be integrated more closely with Windows 8 Mail, enabling people to share photos via email without having to send them as attachments, reducing the possibility of multiple copies on your system as well as bypassing restrictions on the number of attachments or total size issues users typically encounter when sending emails.

Microsoft says it's been hard at work with optimizations and network tweaks to reduce the CPU footprint and network allocation during use. “As an example, here’s an image from Performance Monitor showing performance while a 500MB file is progressively uploading from the desktop to the cloud. You can see how little of the CPU is being used for SkyDrive during idle as well as for the file transfer halfway through (the blue is total CPU, the black is SkyDrive),” the pair wrote.

An increase in the maximum single file size will make it possible for users to upload single files as large as 2GB in size to your online storage space. The new “fetch” feature will also turn your PC into its own private cloud, enabling those with access to access the multiple terabytes of storage it has from anywhere by accessing your computer via SkyDrive.com.




User Comments: 10

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red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

He obviously wanted a boy.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

red1776 said:

He obviously wanted a boy.

Lol. I was going to say something along that line.

Guest said:

What is Microsoft thinking?? I can foresee numerous and serious security issues with SkyDrive!

First, the program is partially written with Java which is notorious for lapses in security and second, there appears to be a couple different ways others can access your SkyDrive data.

Now I'm sure someone will point out that only the owner of the files on SkyDrive will be able to give permission to others to access this information but I am predicting that these "permissions" will be full of security holes that will be bypassed or exploited by some hacker.

Guest said:

They're thinking that people want cloud storage, and that everyone else is making cloud storage available, and that they'll be behind if they don't. I would never put anything personal on anyone's cloud, whether it be Microsoft's, Apple's, or Dropbox's. The only thing I can foresee putting up is music to sync between my computers and my windows phone.

Guest said:

Regarding my post about only putting music up:

I am aware that Microsoft is planning a separate service for that to replace peoples' usage of Skydrive for music, but until that becomes available for both desktop and mobile Windows platforms, I'll be using Skydrive...

Guest said:

I love this step. finaly my files will be easly accessible on my phone, or another pc that i visit!

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Guest said:

What is Microsoft thinking?? I can foresee numerous and serious security issues with SkyDrive!

First, the program is partially written with Java which is notorious for lapses in security and second, there appears to be a couple different ways others can access your SkyDrive data.

Now I'm sure someone will point out that only the owner of the files on SkyDrive will be able to give permission to others to access this information but I am predicting that these "permissions" will be full of security holes that will be bypassed or exploited by some hacker.

Unfortunately, you have no idea what you are talking about.

This is not simply a Web App. The SkyDrive app will run inside the new WinRT. Its a sandboxed model.

TJGeezer said:

lawfer said:

This is not simply a Web App. The SkyDrive app will run inside the new WinRT. Its a sandboxed model.

Apples and oranges here? Seems to me the potential problem will be restricting access to files in the SkyDrive storage space, not to the PC or smart phone or whatever device you use to access the cloud. If that's right, sandboxing the SkyDrive app would not cure the problem (though it would be great for the PC, notebook or whatever).

That's a question, not an objection - I'm probably missing something.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Apples and oranges here? Seems to me the potential problem will be restricting access to files in the SkyDrive storage space, not to the PC or smart phone or whatever device you use to access the cloud. If that's right, sandboxing the SkyDrive app would not cure the problem (though it would be great for the PC, notebook or whatever).

That's a question, not an objection - I'm probably missing something.

I think you are.

The SkyDrive app is not the same as the web app version. Functionality-wise yes they are, but not fundamentally.

Permissions will be granted via email and/or cellphone verification. JS has absolutely nothing to do with how this mechanism works or doesn't work.

(Google does it to verify the identity of new gmail accounts, and it works flawlessly by the way.)

Also, I don't understand what you mean by restricting access to certain files in the cloud storage. It has been made clear in both the article and in the videos that you and only you will have the power to grant acces to other devices/persons. There's nothing to restrict if you allow access in the first place. Conversely, there's nothing to worry about if only you are responsible.

It's like being worried about your future house's security, because you believe you'll have to lend the keys to <i>that</i> &quot;friend&quot; eventually. How is it the house's supposed lack of security to blame for your dead fish or your unwatered plants?

bounca99 said:

I think this is a good idea to quickly make files or docs available. Like everything else, you have a choice. if you dont like it, this can probably be disabled and if not, just dont use it.

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