Microsoft has talked a bit about SkyDrive before in its plans for Windows 8, but Microsoft's Mike Torres and Omar Shahine have authored a Building Windows 8 blog post that have made the company's plans for it a bit clearer, and outline the degree to which SkyDrive support will be built in to the new operating system.

The Metro app, pictured above, has been built from scratch for Windows 8 and Windows on ARM and will eventually become the preferred method of working with SkyDrive data (though the service's web interface will still be available). Any Metro application in Windows 8 that can save or open files will be able to do so to and from SkyDrive manually and automatically without any extra coding on the part of third-party developers.

The SkyDrive desktop app is less tightly integrated with the OS - when downloaded and installed, it works more like Dropbox, keeping your SkyDrive files in one folder (which is stored locally for offline access) and synchronizing changes to the server as files are created, deleted, and updated - the interface (as pictured above) is very Dropbox-like, right down to the green checkmarks next to synced items. The SkyDrive client will be able to upload files as large as 2GB to your storage space, and the client will also be available to Windows Vista and Windows 7 clients when it' s launched - sorry, Windows XP users, but the writing has been on the wall for awhile, and Microsoft would very much like it if you would upgrade your operating system.

Microsoft's description of its cloud services - "a single drive that’s available across all of their devices, tailored to the experiences they’re using, providing instant, secure, and private access to their files" - mirrors to a large degree Apple's efforts with iCloud (though iCloud's storage is all used directly by applications via APIs, rather than actually allowing users to access a filesystem. iDisk offers more traditional online storage functionality for Macs, but its discontinuation is imminent) - think one part iCloud, one part Dropbox. Expect Microsoft's strategy for SkyDrive to become clearer as the Windows 8 launch date gets closer.

Early versions of the SkyDrive Metro and desktop apps will be made available with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview later this month. See the link below for additional details.

Source: Building Windows 8 Blog

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  • gamoniac - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    I am waiting for WP8 to come out and will probably switch from Android, which seems to have problem stablizing their software architecture/designs - going from one major revision to next every eight months. However, one problem I have with skydrive is that my company (as most big corporations do) blocks employees from accessing it. I am not sure if there is a solution for this security concern.
  • Spivonious - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    If you have a valid work reason to use Skydrive, complain to the right people.
  • Ragbansi - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    I have used Dropbox and then Google Docs with Syncdocs, but this in OS integration looks great!
  • B3an - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    This looks much better! and i like how SkyDrive is available to all Apps that can save and load things, without the developer even needing to do any coding.

    @Andrew, you didn't mention this part...

    "Knowing that most people would still have files on a remote PC that weren’t available through SkyDrive, we built a new feature that allows you to “reach across” the Internet to access any file, stream videos, or view photo albums from a remote PC that is running SkyDrive on the desktop. For any remote folder or file, you can also choose to “copy to SkyDrive,” so that you’ll always have it across your devices."

    Killer feature!
  • Spivonious - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    This level of integration is exactly what Skydrive needs to set it apart from the other cloud storage services.

    I think that they let you set any folder to be syncable and that the Skydrive folder is just the default. That's the vibe I got from the blog post, at least.
  • Rand - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    According to their comments to users in reply, only the Skydrive folder is synched. And all contents in the Skydrive are automatically synched across all clients connected to that WinLive account.
  • beefgyorki - Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - link

    The MSFT guy seemed to suggest the Skydrive "folder" works like a Win7 library and as such you can make any folder be part of that library. Not an ideal solution but at least it seems the ability to add any folder to the sync set is still there.

    Now if they just added a right click context menu option to make that a one step process it would be perfect.
  • cfaalm - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    Upgrading from XP to W8, no problemo!
  • Flunk - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    If you arbitrarily choose to live in the past why not use Windows 98? 3.1? or CP/M?
  • Rand - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    Or he might use XP because he actually prefers it, not because he just really likes using the oldest OS he can find just for the sake of using something old.
    I'm going to guess his liking XP is probably the more plausible reasoning.

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