Microsoft revamps Skydrive cloud storage service

Improvements include a redesign of its Web interface and the release of an application for Android devices

Microsoft has given a makeover to its SkyDrive cloud storage service, including a new Web interface, as well as improvements to its desktop applications and developer API, the company announced on Tuesday.

It's not surprising that Microsoft is investing resources in improving SkyDrive, which has emerged as a key product for Microsoft as the company intensifies the move of its products to the cloud. In recent months, Microsoft has made it clear that SkyDrive will play a key role in the way users of Windows 8 devices and of the new version of Office will store, share and synchronize files, documents and settings among their different PCs, tablets and mobile devices.

SkyDrive's user interface has been revamped in the tile-based layout style of the Windows 8 Modern interface -- formerly referred to as Metro. Microsoft has also improved SkyDrive's search functionality, drag-and-drop functionality and sorting features.

The desktop application for Windows 8 and Mac OS X has gotten performance improvements, so that operations like bulk photo uploads are completed faster.

Microsoft is also releasing in a few weeks a SkyDrive application for Android that lets users access, upload and share files from their devices. It already has SkyDrive applications for Windows Phone and iPhone devices.

In addition, Microsoft has removed restrictions from the product's API (application programming interfaces) on the types of files third-party applications can upload to SkyDrive.

"With these updates and continued improvements to our back-end infrastructure, we're excited to leave preview and unlock new possibilities for a billion customers with the upcoming releases of Windows 8, the new Office, and tons of devices and apps that connect to SkyDrive," wrote Omar Shahine and Mike Torres, group program managers for SkyDrive, in the blog post.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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