Five features that should be added to SkyDrive

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SkyDrive is a fantastic cloud storage service – I use it very heavily – and it’s getting better all the time. There are, however, a number of features that I’d like to see added to the service in the (hopefully near) future. The following is a list of my top five most-requested features in no particular order.

Pin deep links in the SkyDrive app

Windows 8 will let you pin a folder to your Start screen, so why shouldn’t SkyDrive? There are a number of folders that I access regularly, and it would be nice to have quick access to them so I don’t have to navigate though my hyper-organized-but-somewhat-intricate folder structure each and every time (for the more technical-minded, my file system has a lot of layers with a relatively high branching factor). While this feature isn’t as important on Windows Phone, it would be nice to have it there as well.

View recent uploads/changes

You can access recent document from the SkyDrive website and apps, but it would be nice if you could see a list of all recent uploads/changes as well. This would make it much easier to return to that C++ file you were working on or find out if collaborators had uploaded something new to a shared folder. The SkyDrive app’s Live Tile on Windows 8 already displays this information, so why not make it readily accessible? You should, of course, be able to quickly access the folder the file is located in too.

Sync folders shared with you

Speaking of collaboration, SkyDrive needs to let you sync folders that have been shared with you via the SkyDrive for Windows desktop application. As it currently stands, only the owner can sync a folder with their local file system. Everyone else is limited to accessing the folder via the website or an app. Changing this will make collaborating on projects much more user-friendly for the rest of the group.

Sync with Windows RT devices

SkyDrive does not support syncing with Windows RT devices either, due to the incompatibility of the ARM architecture and the current x86 SkyDrive for Windows desktop application. As a result, the only way to access SkyDrive is through the Windows Store app or the website. Some of the feature requests above will make this process more user-friendly, but the best solution would be to simply allow Windows RT devices to sync with SkyDrive. While I had originally hoped this would be accomplished through an updated SkyDrive for Windows desktop application delivered to RT devices through Windows Update, Windows 8.1 (codenamed “Blue”) will reportedly bake this feature directly into the OS.

Xbox Music integration

When Microsoft announced Xbox Music last fall, it promised to let you add “all the music you own to your Xbox Music cloud catalog, including music acquired through other services” within “the coming year.” Five months later, the Cloud Matching service has only received a minor update, and you still can’t upload you own personal music for streaming playback on other devices. The two most obvious ways to implement this would be to either upload music directly to the Xbox Music Cloud or take advantage of SkyDrive. The only downside with the latter is that it would eat up a lot of your storage and likely require you to choose one of the premium tiers. Even if Microsoft doesn’t go this route, SkyDrive could still add support for playing audio files via the SkyDrive website, much like how videos are already supported.

I could go on and on with other feature requests, from deeper integration with Windows 8 (which is rumored to be on the way) to additional premium storage tiers. These five, however, represent my biggest and most important requests at the moment. What would you like to see added to SkyDrive?

Disclaimer: I am a member of the SkyDrive Insider program.

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William Devereux

William Devereux is the former Microsoft editor at Pocketables, as well as a Microsoft MVP and SkyDrive/Outlook.com Insider. As his title implies, he wrote about all things from Redmond, including Windows 8 and Windows Phone. He is currently carrying a Windows Phone 8X by HTC and a Microsoft Surface with Windows RT tablet.

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