SkyDrive, Microsoft's cloud hosting service, has been around since 2007. The service gives users access to 25 Gigabytes of free online storage, for file hosting, sharing and collaboration. While it has been a great service to store data online from the start, it felt slow at times especially when navigating folders or photo albums in a web browser.
Today Microsoft made the announcement that SkyDrive had been updated to full HTMl5 glory. What does it mean for SkyDrive users? The service is a lot faster and easier to navigate, provided that a HTML5 capable web browser is used to access the service.
Performance and speed has been optimized considerably. Core tasks like opening folders or navigating photo albums have been improved, with Microsoft citing reductions of 6 to 9 seconds for those tasks. SkyDrive is now making use of hardware accelerated graphics, provided that the web browser and video card support the feature. Microsoft furthermore removed "anything that slowed the experience down or got in the way of a fast, clean site".
The layout of SkyDrive has been optimized. It resembles the Windows Explorer layout of Windows 7 now, with menus on the side and top, and the folders and files in the center of the screen. Users should now be able to reach their destinations faster, be it files, folders or albums.
The photo viewer has been improved as well. It now utilizes HTML5 and displays in a clean and rich manner. Infinite scrolling has been added to eliminate page switching to see more photos.
Microsoft has added HTML5 video playback support of H.264 files to SkyDrive. The videos can have a size of up to 100 Megabytes.
Internet Explorer and Windows 7 users can utilize jumplists to pin Skydrive to the Windows 7 Taskbar for access to often used features and sections.
Here is a short video of the new SkyDrive demonstrating the new features and capabilities of the file hosting service.
You can check out SkyDrive at the official website. Everyone is free to join and will get the 25 Gigabytes of online space.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.