SkyDrive -- two essential feature-requests

Microsoft is doing big things with their Windows Live platform, with new major features in the pipeline and regular impressive announcements on the Windows Live team blog and their Twitter feed. It's an exciting time for web apps and web users!

For example, a completely new version of Hotmail is about to be launched any day now, bristling with cool new features, and pushing the boundaries of web apps with state-of-the-art web technology. MS Office web apps on SkyDrive was launched this week, branded as Office Live. The list goes on. SkyDrive is the future, and it is becoming more useful and important with each new release of features.

However, there are two essential features needed on SkyDrive, desperately and urgently!

It would be easy to implement an embedded video player for files on SkyDrive of certain formats. This great feature would improve the user experience tremendously for video files, and greatly accelerate discovery adoption of SkyDrive. Another "quick win"!

  1. The ability to upload folders.

    The upload feature could easily be enhanced to handle folders. This would improve the user experience greatly, and remove a major obstacle facing user migration from hard drive to SkyDrive!

    Uploading files in multiple folders can take hours or even days, and must be managed manually! The ability to upload a root folder would reduce the time and effort from minutes or hours to almost zero.

    (Increasing the number of nested folders would be nice, too; currently you can have a maximum of 9 nested folders in SkyDrive.)
     
  2. Display an embedded video player for video files.

    It would be easy to implement an embedded video player for files on SkyDrive of certain formats. This great feature would improve the user experience tremendously for video files, and greatly accelerate discovery adoption of SkyDrive. Another "quick win"!

    There are already millions of video files here on SkyDrive! At present the file must be downloaded, which is literally the worst possible user experience for obtaining content of this type on the web. You should instead, when possible, display an embedded video player. (I would suggest using the free, open-source Silverlight Video Player initially for a quick implementation.) Users will then be much more eager to share links to video files on SkyDrive. Users will also spend much more time on SkyDrive and engage more with the website, because users love to share and consume video content. In fact, with this simple feature, SkyDrive could become a serious rival to YouTube!

    IMPORTANT: The embed code provided on the SkyDrive page for a video file MUST allow users to display the video player on other web pages, not just show the file icon inside the iframe!

I passionately believe that these two features are obviously needed on SkyDrive. The SkyDrive dev team should prioritise these features for implementation ASAP!

Therefore, I've been lobbying for these features for some time, so I decided to create this blog post to summarise the arguments in one convenient place, and perhaps even to stimulate some debate. I've submitted these as feature requests the form provided on SkyDrive. Ever since SkyDrive was launched I've been mentioning these requirements in comments on relevant blog posts about Windows Live and SkyDrive. Today I Tweeted to the Windows Live team blog with a link to this page.

I know the Windows Live team are listening, I hope they see the potential in my reccomendations! ;)

09 June 2010

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The video player is already in SkyDrive Wave 4, which was released yesterday.

Tim Acheson (10 Jun 10, 17:36)

Hi Compulim, thanks, that is fantastic news!I've just blogged about the new video player feature in SkyDrive!

We still need the HTML embed code provided to be updated, so yuo can embed the video in a web page. At present the embed code still just displays the old video file icon!

Apart from that, all we need now is support for folders in the "add file" feature. ;)

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