As we reported some days past, Microsoft has big plans for its SkyDrive cloud storage product. Today in an announcement on the Building Windows 8 blog, Microsoft confirmed desktop sync, a SkyDrive Metro app, and remote file retrieval.
The Windows 8 Metro app will be integrated with the Search Charm built into the operating system itself. Microsoft calls the program a “fast, fluid, touch-first version of SkyDrive that makes it quick and easy to browse your files and access them via any Metro style app.” This is expected; Microsoft will bake as many goodies as it can into Windows 8 to make it as beefy as possible.
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Desktop file sync will support files of up to 2 gigabytes, and be supported on Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8. Microsoft claims the new feature will provide “easy drag and drop upload and download access to your data, offline access and the power of Windows Explorer to manage files and folders.” This is what we predicted over the weekend. What Microsoft calls ‘Fetching’ will also be available soon, providing access to browse and snag files from your computer via an Internet connection.
In its blog post, Microsoft claims a three-fold vision for how SkyDrive should function for the end user: “SkyDrive Metro style app on Windows 8; SkyDrive files integrated into Windows Explorer on the desktop; and the ability to fetch remote files through SkyDrive.com.” If consumers will flock to the cloud given that level of integration remains unknown, but likely.
Microsoft also appears to have a revenue plan in place for SkyDrive, if previous leaks (now partially borne out) hold true. The company will charge a yearly fee for extra gigabytes of data storage, up to 100 for $54. For now, that remains a rumor.
In its email to TNW on this topic, Microsoft claims that “The cloud must seamlessly connect the files people have today to amazing new apps they will be using across devices – without any compromises.” The company appears to be making headway on that front, but until we get our hands on the new SkyDrive functionality, we will reserve from awarding plaudits past saying that its direction appears correct.