New features & other highlights from SkyDrive team at Reddit AMA

Regularly, a lot of updates to SkyDrive have been made and we have been seeing those in our earlier posts. Recently we had read about SkyDrive’s deep integration in Windows 8.1 – and now SkyDrive.com gets a big update with an improved way to share and view photos with much control. SkyDrive.com now includes a lightweight text editor with ability to edit various kinds of text files including code files like JavaScript, CSS, HTML and many other code files with syntax highlighting & other options. And to talk about these updates and other user’s  queries,  Omar Shahine and Mona Akmal with the SkyDrive team did a @reddit_AMA (Ask Me Anything). Let us check some of the answered queries from the same –

skydriveAMA

 

Q:The 2GB file size limit would be something to remove?

A:This is a good one that we’d like to improve on. I can’t comment about specifics here, but it’s something we are looking at. The reason we don’t support 2 GB is that when we designed the system 7 years ago we thought 2 GB was really big. Turns out it’s not.

Q:Why is there a 100GB limit on purchasing space?

A: We are always looking at adding additional storage options. Can’t comment on when this might change.

Q:Will the Desktop client ever receive a pause button? Will be useful when syncing large files and getting interrupted by something?

A:On Windows 8.1 if you set your connection to metered (which you can apply and then disable easily) it will pause syncing. Not exactly what you want but it will do the job.

Q:In line with these new updates, do you have any plans to update the SkyDrive client for Mac OS X?

A:We continue to support users of the SkyDrive client for Mac OS. In fact we just shipped an update to the Mac client with bug fixes and will keep doing that in the future.

Q:Talking about privacy, with all the noise around prism etc, will we ever be able to get native encryption?

A: We don’t currently have that option, you can use TrueCrypt to do this today.

Q:Security wise, how are files stored in SkyDrive – can my files be accessed and viewed if they are unencrypted?

A:Your SkyDrive account and your private files are password-protected. When you upload or access private files on SkyDrive, we encrypt information sent between you and our servers using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to prevent eavesdroppers from seeing your files when in transit. Once your files are on our servers, we work to prevent hackers from accessing your data by employing sophisticated physical / electronic security measures. We also store multiple copies of your file on different servers and hard drives to help protect your data from hardware failure

Q: What about the “Fetch” feature where you can browse the contents of your PC from SkyDrive.com?

A: That feature is an opt-in feature. But basically when it’s disabled, it’s really disabled. We have no technical way to remotely browse files on your PC. Also, the feature requires two-step verification. Fetch is not currently in Windows 8.1. Sorry

Q: A few months ago there was a rumor that you were looking at a music player with cloud storage for music. Any plans to add something like this?

A: About 2 years ago we had a bunch of interns here and one of the projects they came up with was building an HTML5 music player in SkyDrive. We never actually released this and have no plans to do so at this time.we have ongoing conversations with the Xbox music team about their experiences, and as you probably know they just launched a new web Xbox music web experience which we think is pretty awesome

Q: What part of Microsoft did you end up in after the reorg? Are you still part of Windows, or are you parts of Apps and Services now?

A: I don’t have anything to share about the org chart, but SkyDrive continues to be an incredibly important asset across nearly all our products – Windows / Office / Phone.

Q: Are there plans to allow shared files and folders to sync with the desktop?

A:We’ve heard the feedback and know that this is an important scenario for users. Don’t have any more information to share at this point.

Q: Will we ever get the P2P mesh sync features back? Or can we expect similar capabilities in the future?

A: P2P sync as a technology serves two purposes: 1. Make syncing of files between two devices faster 2. Bypass a physical cloud location.

We are always working on achieving #1 and will consider all technologies that help us make syncing faster. For #2, we do not believe this is a sustainable model for most users since device connectivity is not guaranteed and “all-your-files-anywhere” cannot be achieved without a physical cloud location. So we have no plans of bringing P2P back as an alternative to SkyDrive cloud storage.

Q: Any plans for the search feature to search text within a PDF?

A: In Windows 8.1 we’ve enabled text search for Word, Excel and PowerPoint files in SkyDrive. We will continue to improve search for all file types. No additional information to share about PDFs specifically.

Q: Given SkyDrive’s tighter integration with Windows 8.1, will Microsoft be loosening its TOS restrictions?

A: I can tell you what we actually do here (how we technically implement our policy). We don’t really have any interest in what’s in your private files. The only exception here is where we’ve stated what we have a zero tolerance policy for child exploitation and we proactively scan for content uploaded to SkyDrive using technology called PhotoDNA

However, when you share your private files on the web, we do have an interest in making sure that the content you are sharing is not offensive in nature to the public at large. So we have mechanisms for people to “Report Abuse” in which case we’ll review the content and ensure it’s not offensive. We also have algorithms that attempt to detect “nude” shared content and disable sharing providing customers with a mechanism to contest that action. This is akin to “virus scanning” in that it’s heuristic and therefore not perfect.

Q: Can we please get shared folder sync?

A: I agree it’s an incredibly important scenario. Unfortunately we don’t have anything to share right now.

Q: Would it be to difficult to add support for .cbr file making SkyDrive into a comic book reader?

A: We really do want to work hard to make SkyDrive.com not only the place where you can get to your files (for download) but you can also view and manage. We don’t have any plans for .cbr (Comic Books) right now, but check out the Text Editor we just released today; also the .raw photo storage and viewing on the website.

Q:Why was the SkyDrive syncing icon in the notification area on the desktop tool bar removed?

A: Windows is generally moving away from system tray icons and we wanted to align the SkyDrive experience with OS guidelines. However Explorer and the SkyDrive app will show sync status on folders and files when they’re syncing or if there was a sync error. We decided not to have green ticks for every successful item since we expect most folders/files to be in this state – the experience seems cluttered with green checks ticks everywhere. However I do agree that having an all-up green state would be helpful.

Q: Will the iOS version of SkyDrive eventually feature automatic camera roll uploads?

A: We know this is an important feature to SkyDrive users on iOS. We don’t have anything specific to share right now.

Q: It was reported that you lost a case against BSkyB over the use of the name SkyDrive. Are you going to change your name?

A: Mona and I work on the engineering team, so we’re not really equipped to answer this question. We want to deliver a killer experience, and unfortunately we don’t have any additional info at this time.

Q: Will we ever get to choose which folder we want upload to SkyDrive? I mean instead of the content in SkyDrive folder can we choose which folders to upload similar to MESH?

A: No, we don’t have plans to support sync’ing folders outside of your SkyDrive folder.

Q: SkyDrive and tagging photos?

A: Something we’ve talked a lot about on the team, but have nothing to share about this now.

Q:When can we get an instant public link from the Windows explorer context menu?

A: Most people want control over what and how things get shared, and we have a lot of great sharing features that we constantly improve. Having the context menu just have the generic Share command take you to the web site (including make public) seemed the best way to us to ship the feature and maintain the flexibility of all we have to offer.

What do you have to say about the new features in SkyDrive?

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The author has been a Microsoft MVP awardee in various Windows categories (2006-2016) and currently a Windows Insider MVP. A Technology Enthusiast, interested in anything technical and is committed to Microsoft technologies and products. He is actively associated with various Microsoft online communities, forums, Newsgroups and has been actively involved in Beta testing various Microsoft products and bug submissions.