Photo sharing added to SkyDrive

Microsoft has made several tweaks to its online cloud storage service, SkyDrive, one of which now allows users to access the Photo application in Windows 8 and fetch images stored on any PC with SkyDrive installed.

Updates for SkyDrive for Windows will be rolled out automatically in the Windows 8 Release Preview, which is expected to be available as early as today.

The new photo-sharing feature allows users to view images in the Windows 8 Photos app from any other computer with SkyDrive installed, no matter “how many terabytes of photos you have stored on the PC you are accessing.”

In a blog, Mike Torres, Microsoft’s group program manager for SkyDrive, said the company also increased the limit on the total number of files that can be stored in a SkyDrive folder from 150,000 to 10 million.

“This should unblock some power users from easily adding lots of files to their SkyDrive folder,” Torres wrote.

Last month, Microsoft released a preview of an OS X SkyDrive client that added Macs to the list of devices natively supported by its cloud storage service. That list also includes iOS and Windows Phone devices.

Microsoft is pitching SkyDrive as a better alternative for users of Apple’s iCloud storage service.

Torres said the SkyDrive folder should also now update more quickly and reliably when changes are made on other devices, including SkyDrive.com.

“We made lots of smaller bug fixes to improve overall reliability,” he wrote. “Our primary goal throughout this preview period for our desktop apps is to really nail the fundamentals. This means we want the synchronization process to be fast and dependable, and for your SkyDrive folder to ‘just work,’ so that it simply feels like magic.”

User feedback also led Microsoft to tweak SkyDrive for OS X Lion so that it will will no longer show up as an app icon in the dock when running. Users said it just wasn’t necessary.

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas’s RSS feed. His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

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