posted by Steven

As Ian on the Windows Live SkyDrive team will tell you, sharing photos with Windows Live Photo Gallery, and SkyDrive has never been easier. With SkyDrive you can now store up to 25 gigabytes of data, photos and files to share with friends, co-workers and family.

I wanted to write a little bit about how we see people using Messenger together with and SkyDrive to share with their contacts. Secondly, I want to talk about why we changed the “Sharing Folders” functionality in Messenger.

There are two major types of file sharing that we’re currently providing through Windows Live. The first type, sharing photos, has become a huge part of our experiences from photo acquisition, albums and tagging in Photo Gallery, synchronous photo-sharing while in a conversation in Messenger, sending photos and photo albums in Windows Live Mail and Hotmail as well as beautiful online slideshows, album sharing and people-tagging on with lots of free online space courtesy of SkyDrive. Your options and ability to share photos has really gotten much more comprehensive with the latest updates coming to Windows Live.

Secondly, there are consumers who want to share more generic file types – either in real-time by dragging them into a conversation window in Messenger or by putting them on the internet to share with their contacts. SkyDrive makes it super easy to store and share these files over the internet – by basically giving you a personal “hard drive in the cloud” and you get to decide which people get access to which folders on that hard drive.  And you can also easily see which of your contacts’ have given you access to parts of their hard drives in the cloud.  Permissions can be read-only or also include the ability to modify files.  And you can even share files with people that don’t have a Windows Live ID.

In the last few versions of Messenger we had a feature called Sharing Folders which would allow you to share files, videos and photos with any of your contacts. What we learned was that most people were using this to show their friends a photo right away when they were in a conversation.  So we built the new photo sharing experience in Messenger.  We also learned that some people did want to share more generic files between each other, but they didn’t like that both people had to be online at the same time for Sharing Folders to sync files between contacts. The great thing about the new sharing experience through SkyDrive is that you post files that you want to share, give your friends the link to the folder and you’re done. They can then get access to those files whenever – either immediately if they’re already online or at any point in the future.

In the new version of Messenger we have integrated links to SkyDrive right into the conversation window. Simply click Publish Files Online and you will be taken to your online SkyDrive where you can create folders, upload files, and decide what to share with your contacts.

With and SkyDrive customers can share photo albums with multiple people all from one place. It’s as easy as dragging and dropping your files into a folder on SkyDrive. SkyDrive lets you set who should see the files or photos and even updates your contacts by putting the names of the files in their What’s New feed.

All in all, we think the new design gives our customers more options for sharing files and an even richer and more fun experience when you’re sharing photos. We would love to know how you share files and what kinds of features you would like to see in future Windows Live products.


Steven and Jeremy