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By 17 August 2012 | Categories: news

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In the wake of its recent unveiling of its newly redesigned online email service, Outlook.com, Microsoft has turned its attentions to giving its cloud storage solution, SkyDrive, a fresh makeover as well.
 
To this end, SkyDrive has received a more modern web design, while the company also announced that a new SkyDrive app for Android was imminent. Additionally, refinements have been made to its PC and Mac experiences as well.
 
According to the company’s blog, some of the improvements include a contextual toolbar, thumbnail multi-select, drag-and-drop organisation, and HTML5 sorting.
 
Less hide, more seek
 
The company further promised faster uploads and “tons of bug and performance improvements under the hood.”
 
Additionally, a search function enables users to search across the whole of their SkyDrive, as well as within the contents of their Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents for a particular term.
 
Other improvements include a contextual toolbar, which is apparently intended to make common commands and actions, such as creating folders and sharing documents, more accessible. Furthermore, users can now select multiple files in thumbnail view, and drag-and-drop files and folders.
 
A brief test
 
However,as the cliche goes, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and thus we decided to take the newly revamped SkyDrive for a brief test. Appearance wise, SkyDrive is certainly in line with the forthcoming Windows 8 user interface, with files and folders appearing like tiles.
 
These are easy on the eye, and certainly more attractive than Google’s rather spartan list view. However, for those who prefer it, SkyDrive can similarly be switched to a ‘details’ view, which shows the size of the file, the date modified and with whom it is being shared.
 
Once logged into our Microsoft account, uploading files and creating groups was a breeze.
 
However, it was when comparing it to Google Docs that we really began appreciating some of the features, and the seamless integration with Office, that SkyDrive has on offer. Documents could either be edited online, in a Word for web application, or sent to Microsoft Word for the editing, and then saved back to the SkyDrive.
 
One aspect we particularly appreciated is that there is one annoying bug in particular that Google Doc suffers from which SkyDrive appears not to. When zooming into documents within our browser, any editing we try do within Google Docs on Chrome goes haywire, but SkyDrive managed to keep our cursor, and thus our editing, exactly where we intended it to be.  
 
To the point
 
Indeed, the SkyDrive revamp is certainly a welcome move by Microsoft, that very handily complements its unveiling of Office 2013 last month, and Outlook.com’s new look and features, announced earlier this month.

It bears some more testing – and collaborating – before we would make the switch from Google Docs, (renamed Google Drive), but with the revamp, doing so is certainly more enticing than it was a month ago. 

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