Microsoft OneDrive

Thinking on iCloud? Try the new SkyDrive from Microsoft instead, 25GB for Free!

On Monday Microsoft launched the new version of SkyDrive to its 100 million users. The new version of the free cloud storage service of the software giant is now redesigned to take advantage of modern browsers and HTML5.

Microsoft wants to make clear that SkyDrive is a great cloud service to access your content at anytime from anywhere, share photos and collaborate on Office documents, despite the announcements of the new Apple iCloud. As Microsoft unveiled in Inside Windows Live blog, SkyDrive (the four year-old service) brings many updates to the table; there is a new redesigned user interface, sleeker and without ads on the right pane, there is a noticeable speed boots, an improved photo gallery, and of course it is optimized for Internet Explorer 9 and it plays well with modern browsers.

Let’s talk in more detail on what is new in SkyDrive:

Fast, Fast

  • Hardware acceleration and better caching: Improved folder clicking and photo album navigation that used to take about 6-9 seconds, now it only takes 100-300 milliseconds. Hardware acceleration make photos slideshow enjoyable with fast transitions.
  • HTML5 all around: SkyDrive take advantage of HTML5 standards like HTML5 Video tag to support playback of H.264 videos for files up to 100MB (for now…) and CSS3.
  • Pin SkyDrive: Using Internet Explorer 9 on Windows 7, you can have faster access to your files by pinning SkyDrive to the taskbar. Additionally you can now create Word, Excel or PowerPoint documents to the cloud with just one click.

Navigation becomes common sense

  • Single place for all you content: Microsoft made easier for the user to combined photos, docs, files shared with you, and files in SkyDrive groups are also included.
  • Better navigational elements: Microsoft redesigned the navigational elements and layouts to be more consistent with Windows and Hotmail, so now you know where you are and how to get where you need to go.
  • Quick views: Allows you to always get faster access to your recent documents or by clicking the SkyDrive header.

Better and more beautiful photos

  • Mosaic layout view: Now when you select an album, you will get a clean, rich view, and you’ll see your photos in the original aspect ratio, whether it be portrait, landscape or a panorama ratio.
  • Always arranged: Regardless of the sizes of the web browser, SkyDrive always arranges the photos in a clean and organized layout by taking advantage of CSS3 Transitions which adds animation to the thumbnails when re-sizing the web browser window.
  • Infinite scrolling: You not longer have to click-through pages for photo viewing, just scroll and scroll, and the screen quickly will be filled with new photos, which looks and feel like if you were using a desktop application.

Microsoft is planning to release more features as soon they are ready.

One thing to notice about SkyDrive, besides all the new features, is that this cloud service from Microsoft offers you 25GB of online storage for free that can be combined with an arrange of applications, such as Office Web Apps, you can even save and sync from Office desktop applications to SkyDrive, you can sync files and folder between SkyDrive or computers using Windows Live Mesh 2011 and more. All these for FREE, it sounds like a good deal to me.

Here is a video where you can have a glimpse of the new SkyDrive for the modern web:

What are your thoughts in the new SkyDrive? Are you using this cloud service? Leave us your comments…