Skydrive overhauled in HTML5, new features abound

We knew the update was coming for SkyDrive eventually, but it wasn't clear what had been added to the new "Wave 5" release, nor was when it was going to be released. According to a blog post over on The Windows Team Blog today, Microsoft has released the massive update to the public, with a ton of new features, a full UI overhaul (now built on HTML5 and CSS3), and a huge performance improvement.

The blog post at Windows Team Blog fully details the new features. Notably, SkyDrive now has full hardware acceleration -- and Microsoft claims the improvements are huge -- with navigating photo albums down from "6-9 seconds" to an impressive "100-300 milliseconds". In IE9, SkyDrive has the ability to be pinned to the taskbar for quick access, too.

The company is pulling in photos (photos.live.com) and docs (docs.live.com) from their other services now, so they can be viewed in one place, and offers new views to look at them as well, such as "mosaic view" of photos or a sort of "live tile" presentation of them (similar to something you'd expect to see in Windows Phone 7, see it in action in the video below).

Liveside reports that Microsoft chose to build the new SkyDrive in HTML5 and CSS3 rather than Silverlight for what seems to have come down to performance reasons. The move allows Microsoft to take advantage of new CSS3 transitions and H.264 video "to bring the experience live to you."

They also point out that while Microsoft increased the single file size limit to 100MB, SkyDrive is still locked off at 25GB maximum, with no way to pay to expand it to more storage yet. In addition to this, it still appears to be separate from Windows Live Mesh, Microsofts' desktop synchronization software which is locked at 5GB of SkyDrive's storage.

The new SkyDrive is now available over at skydrive.live.com

Images courtesy of windowsteamblog.com

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I looked at the source code of the main page and I saw no HTML5 elements or CSS3 properties.

Still, it's a brilliant release!

I mapped it as a network drive, but I can't seem to copy any of my images onto it. It consistently throws an error "The file is too large for the destination file system" - I'm not sure why?

now it looks a bit incosistent. For example, upload or copy/move features reload a page completely (and that page looks old, from the old skydrive)

Need better integration with skydrive and the suite of microsoft live services including calendar into other operating systems and devices and i'd dump google and use it. Give me a plug in for iphoto. Get app writers to integrate it into their apps on ios devices like they do with dropbox.

Right now it's just too limited for me to use it.

Now fix sharing/linking, add real time collaboration, and better integrate with Mesh (add synced folders as skydrive folders with browser editable files rather than a "synced folder" section with only downloadable files).

It's of no use to me until they remove the 10MB file limit and the 5GB sync limit for Live Mesh. I use Mesh to sync my personal "toolbox" as well as a lot of my config / ini files and there are simply too many files that are larger than 10MB plus my total Mesh sync is past 5GB. Unfortunately these limitations keep me from having any use of skydrive.

flexkeyboard said,
Live Mesh is different from Skydrive really. The file limit for Skydrive is 50mb compare to Mesh's 10mb.

dude... file limit is now 100mb its part of the update. maybe next year it will be 150mb? lol

i'm hating this update. i can no longer link to single files in my public folder. now it shows the whole folder contents and highlights the selected file instead. also, the links are now gibberish instead of something nice based on the folder/filenames. this really sucks.

marc2003 said,
i'm hating this update. i can no longer link to single files in my public folder. now it shows the whole folder contents and highlights the selected file instead. also, the links are now gibberish instead of something nice based on the folder/filenames. this really sucks.

there is embed feature. You get a piece of HTML to drop it onto your page...

The inability to move more than one file or photo at a time is really killing this entire roll out for me. And to hide the move/copy button like that is typical of the Microsoft of old. Someone please fire that guy. Other wise it's nice, but jesus man. Moving files and folders around is not too much to ask for. They better fix this and fast or risk LOTS of ridicule. Someone please show me something that I am missing here.

It seem like you can drag and drop files in IE9 through the web interface. My browser, Opera doesn't allow it. There are ways to show your Skydrive as a network folder on your computer too.

Amazing! I had been waiting for this for a loooooong time. No need for SDexplorer ! Btw, is it me or the the move option is gone (temporarily, I hope)

astroX said,
Btw, is it me or the the move option is gone (temporarily, I hope)

When viewing a file under the "Information" section on the right is the option Move/Copy (You may need to show the panel on the right with the arrow in the top right to see this)

Should be in a easy to access location IMO

brent3000 said,

When viewing a file under the "Information" section on the right is the option Move/Copy (You may need to show the panel on the right with the arrow in the top right to see this)

Should be in a easy to access location IMO

You know what, I did know about the information sidebar but I was looking for a Move option for a folder, so I could have a folder inside a folder but it seems like it's not possible as of now. Thanks though!

brent3000 said,

Should be in a easy to access location IMO

Yeah, I think so too... the move and copy options are just so unobvious... they should definitely fix that...

Nucleotide said,
I'm a Google man. I will stick my G-apps!

Credit to Microsoft for finally making some nice improvements though.

Finally? It's been years that microsoft is improving their products...

They still haven't fixed any of the file management issues. I want the ability to copy, cut and paste files from folders just like I would from windows explorer. I also want to just share a single file from a folder without sharing the entire folder.

Omen1393 said,
They still haven't fixed any of the file management issues. I want the ability to copy, cut and paste files from folders just like I would from windows explorer. I also want to just share a single file from a folder without sharing the entire folder.

not sure if this was possible prior to the upgrade, but it's there now, just not very discoverable. if you expand the information section of the right-hand pane, you get options to copy or move a file. still doesn't seem to be a way to do bulk editing, other than deleting, though.

y_notm said,

not sure if this was possible prior to the upgrade, but it's there now, just not very discoverable. if you expand the information section of the right-hand pane, you get options to copy or move a file. still doesn't seem to be a way to do bulk editing, other than deleting, though.

Yes, it was possible to do that for like a year though through some menu on the top of the screen...

But yeah, still no bulk management options... That would be really nice, actually... I want that now...

lmao I do not get 'transitions' with a folder full of images when I do things like resize the window.
And yes, what the hell happened to Bing HTML5!

cleverclogs said,
lmao I do not get 'transitions' with a folder full of images when I do things like resize the window.

Those transitions don't work in IE 9, and they note as much in their blog post. (They're supported by IE 10 builds, and various Firefox / Chrome builds)

cleverclogs said,
lmao I do not get 'transitions' with a folder full of images when I do things like resize the window.
And yes, what the hell happened to Bing HTML5!

Wrong post

cleverclogs said,
lmao I do not get 'transitions' with a folder full of images when I do things like resize the window.
And yes, what the hell happened to Bing HTML5!

thats why they showed that in firefox... IE9 doesn't support it. still i dont care about it, but IE10 will support it. transitions is just something nice, but i rather like having pinned skydrive.

EmilyTheStrange said,

thats why they showed that in firefox... IE9 doesn't support it. still i dont care about it, but IE10 will support it. transitions is just something nice, but i rather like having pinned skydrive.

Indeed!!!!!

Ci7 said,
what happened to Bing HTML5 interface they demo??????

i've been wondering this myself lately. while the skydrive interface is nice and a big improvement, i think the bing html5 is a bigger, more exciting upgrade

Ci7 said,
what happened to Bing HTML5 interface they demo??????

yeah im still waiting on that one too but im sure its coming. Microsoft has a lot going on right now with getting SkyDrive updated, along with WP7 Mango, Win8, Zune, XBox Dashboard just to name a few.

SkyDrive is really coming along to be the best service in this consumerization of cloud computing. They're getting SkyDrive geared up, getting it on Windows Phone and Xbox Live, once Windows 8 hits, all many people will have to do is connect to the Wi-Fi/network, sign-in to their Windows Live and their new computer or tablet is ready to go to. This could give them THE best out of the box experience.

As DrPizza said on Twitter (arstechnica), if you make a service that is web-first (meaning most of the functionality requires you being on the site and not allowing an easy way to use it locally on your machine), you're doing it wrong. Hopefully Win8 fixes this with SkyDrive integration.

MattWeihl said,
As DrPizza said on Twitter (arstechnica), if you make a service that is web-first (meaning most of the functionality requires you being on the site and not allowing an easy way to use it locally on your machine), you're doing it wrong. Hopefully Win8 fixes this with SkyDrive integration.

It will. Takes time to build a service that will run at the capacity this will. They are going to be sending and receiving data from hundreads of millions of users across Windows 8, Windows Phone, Xbox Live, and whatever devices we see in the future that will support Windows Live Services.

MattWeihl said,
As DrPizza said on Twitter (arstechnica), if you make a service that is web-first (meaning most of the functionality requires you being on the site and not allowing an easy way to use it locally on your machine), you're doing it wrong. Hopefully Win8 fixes this with SkyDrive integration.

And remember that SkyDrive is integrated in WP7 and Office 2010. So, already, there is some integration. But integration with Windows itself would be awesome!

RealFduch said,

How can you do it with the much hyped HTML5?

Would have been amazing if it wasn't using HTML5, but the whole service was done in Silverlight.

dcoaster said,
Damn it MS!!!! Where's the FOLDER UPLOAD option????

This is really a UI change and not much else. Something like folder uploads would be a feature to hope comes in the Windows Live Wave 5 update.

wixostrix said,

This is really a UI change and not much else. Something like folder uploads would be a feature to hope comes in the Windows Live Wave 5 update.

I don't think it's Wave 5, they will probably keep releasing more smaller features later on.

KavazovAngel said,

Would have been amazing if it wasn't using HTML5, but the whole service was done in Silverlight.

yes for people using PC's.. but for people using tablets (my blackberry playbook) or cell phones that dont support silverlight..

Lachlan said,

yes for people using PC's.. but for people using tablets (my blackberry playbook) or cell phones that dont support silverlight..

Understandable.

dcoaster said,
Damn it MS!!!! Where's the FOLDER UPLOAD option????

What do you need folder upload for? I have not tested the latest one but i believe you could click and drag a bulk of files into the "upload space" and it would process it accordingly

Else there is the Mesh Sync option

dcoaster said,
Damn it MS!!!! Where's the FOLDER UPLOAD option????

yeah... too hard to click on "create folder" and then type pr0n and then upload all files on your folder to there... thats toooo hard :\... and i forgot to say 100mb upload now... damn microsoft. i hate you /s

damn microsoft. why aren't you making my launch!

brent3000 said,

What do you need folder upload for? I have not tested the latest one but i believe you could click and drag a bulk of files into the "upload space" and it would process it accordingly

Else there is the Mesh Sync option

...... Locked at 5GB with no option to increase it, even paying for the service.

Wow.... this is on speedy service. I love having it pinned and the jumplists. Very nice.

I do hope they find a better way to view synced files, but this is a much need revamp.

The photo/video experience is just sick.... when will folks be sharing their photos/videos ala other services.

this redesign, whether you're aware or not, is the biggest MS stride to become the biggest player in the cloud service. It has already built into WP7 and other ms services. It will dominate...

flexkeyboard said,
this redesign, whether you're aware or not, is the biggest MS stride to become the biggest player in the cloud service. It has already built into WP7 and other ms services. It will dominate...

I am still hoping that we will see SkyDrive listed in Windows Explorer together with my C:, D:, and other HDs.

flexkeyboard said,

You can use this third party program: http://skydriveexplorer.com/index.php to do it in the mean time until an official support from MS, maybe in Win8.

Actually you can add it as a network drive, using the URL and modifiying it slightly. Don't have a link to the guide on hand, but i was reading about it last month.