Cloud Computing with SkyDrive on Windows 8 Revealed, A Desktop Version for Windows 7 too

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SkyDrive, Microsoft’s bet on cloud storage service, will make its way to Windows 8 as a dedicated Metro App and Desktop App, revealed by Building Windows 8.

Having a dedicated app devoting itself to SkyDrive makes sense, and matters more to those who are less familiar with the file system to take full advantage of cloud without the fear. The file system is for computer explorer hobbyists while an app on top of the file system is for the mass.

The first early version of SkyDrive metro app, which we will be seeing in the Consumer Preview, focuses on 2 things, touch-first designed fluid app and the ability to integrate with other metro apps using charms and contracts via the file picker. The latter plays a key role to bring a file cloud to every metro apps, not only open but save the files back as well. Register an email address on a PC that runs Windows 8, then wherever you save files on SkyDrive, all other Windows 8 devices you use will provide seamless access to those files.

For app developers, this means that, so long as your app supports opening and saving documents and photos, it will automatically support SkyDrive without any additional work.

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On desktop, SkyDrive will be integrated through Windows Explorer. The benefit of having a dedicated desktop version is obvious, easy drag-and-drop upload and download support for SkyDrive, anywhere access to your data, offline access, and the power of Windows Explorer to manage your files and folders.

SkyDrive will not only work on Windows 8 but on other platforms as well, only Vista and Windows 7. And It works muck like Dropbox. You install the app, your whole SkyDrive will start syncing into the folder you choose during the installation. The default folder is in %userprofile%\skydrive. The data will always be up-to-date with the latest changes. The app is less than 5 MB, takes 10 seconds to install and only need to be installed once per PC since it will update automatically by itself.

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What’s interesting is the way how you can stream your photos and videos through SkyDrive.com web app. It’s extremely useful when you have a subset of data sync’d to the cloud on one computer and you want to access them from another computer.

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In order to access a remote PC, you will have to provide a second factor of authentication to enhance the security. This means that anyone wanting access to your remote PC would have to have access not only to your account, but also to either an alternate email or your phone (which they would need to physically possess).

Let’s take look at these features in live.

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