Microsoft recently updated their online storage offering with a number of file handling and speed improvements. You can read about all of the features on the Windows Live Blog. The big news for photographers is that it has now added support to upload your RAW files.
You can upload your RAW photos just as if they were a jpg file and have the thumbnails and large previews show up in the browser.
Have you ever wanted to have a free online backup solution for all of your photos? According to LiveSide Microsoft is preparing to offer such an option.
Microsoft currently offers 25GB of free online storage via SkyDrive in which you can store your photos, documents and other files online. Now it appears you will be able to store unlimited photos and documents using SkyDrive. No word on when they will make the switch but it’s good news for all sports photographers looking for a free way to backup their entire photo collection.
Windows Live SkyDrive is a free 25GB cloud storage offering from Microsoft in which you can store literally any files you want. It integrates with Office Web Apps which include free online versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. SkyDrive has been around for a few years but unfortunately if you were a photographer it never had a real good reason to use it. With the new HTML 5 update that is about to change.
SkyDrive now feels much more like a photo viewing desktop application than your standard old website. Uploading photos is extremely easy. You first create a folder and then click the add files button. You are then presented with a large box asking you to drag your files there. Once you drop your photos to the box it automatically starts uploading them for you. You can choose from a number of uploading sizes from small all the way up to the original size.
Once you have uploaded a number of photos and folders you can get a quick view of all your uploads by clicking on the Photos link on the left hand side of the page. This view uses what Microsoft calls live tiles. Essentially what it does is present you with a small slideshow of the photos you have in each folder. The effect is very nice and isn’t overly distracting.
Once you click through to one of your photo folders you are presented with a grid of your photos nicely spaced and with their original aspect ratio. You also get details and options for that specific folder to the right side of the interface that “sticks” in view even as you scroll through your photos. When scrolling through your photos you don’t have to click through page and page but rather SkyDrive automatically loads thumbnails of your images as you scroll. This behavior is more like a traditional desktop application than a website. This makes finding your photos much more quickly than having to try and guess which page you think the photo you are looking for is on.
Clicking on an individual photo brings up a larger view of that photo in addition to small thumbnails of the other photos before and after the currently selected photograph. Once again SkyDrive provides you with options and details of the currently selected photo on the right side. You can easily scroll through your photos using the left and right arrow keys on your keyboard or clicking to the left or right of the large photo. You can also skip to another photo by clicking it’s thumbnail at the bottom of the screen.
One last feature I’ll mention is the arrange photo feature. When you move to this mode it gives you an intuitive way of arranging all your photos in a particular folder. You can simply drag your photos around moving them into the order you wish for them to show up.
Many of the features I’ve described here don’t give you a full appreciation of how things look and work so I’ve embedded a short video Microsoft has provided which walks you through some of the new features.