Windows 8 is coming, and I’ve been reserved in writing anything about it for a few reasons.
There’s the Metro interface thing. To me, it’s just Ubuntu’s Unity in a Microsoft flavor. I understand that the whole point is to provide a simplified interface which supposedly makes your computer easier to use, but eh.. I don’t know. I mean, there’s a strong chance that there won’t even be a Start button. But then again, Mac OS X and several Linux desktop UIs don’t have any starting point defined as a single button either, so maybe Microsoft’s new UI will work. Or not.
Then there’s the whole "reason to upgrade" factor. I’ve been waiting patiently to find something to tell you about that gives a good solid reason to go with Win8 when released.
Well, I think I’ve finally found one. Integrated SkyDrive connectivity.
On a recent Microsoft blog post, it’s explained that Win8 will have tighter integration of the Windows Live SkyDrive service to allow everyone easy access to cloud storage. This essentially makes the killer app in Win8 your stuff, as in the stuff you want to sync out to the cloud via PC or mobile.
It’s true that Win7 does offer this sync capability now, but the problem is that at best it’s loosely integrated. Windows Mesh, while fantastic as a sync product, doesn’t "feel right" for lack of a better description in the Win7 environment.
What should happen with cloud sync in Win8 via SkyDrive is that it should be no different than clicking on a drive letter for an external USB drive, and more importantly it should be better than Dropbox.
Part of the reason Dropbox is just so freakin’ awesome is because it’s just a nice simple folder under My Documents (unless you changed the location). The icon for the folder is friendly and easy to spot, the sync is spot-on and quick, and the LAN sync makes for PC-to-PC (or laptop) very quick as well.
Another reason why Dropbox is awesome is because it works on Mac, Linux or Windows with no real problems at all.
The Achilles Heel of Dropbox is the limited free space you get. SkyDrive totally trounces Dropbox in that respect.
I do sincerely hope the gobs of GBs you can get with SkyDrive has a tight, easy integration in Win8. I also hope SkyDrive goes cross-platform with other OSes, but I’d even be happy if the integration just makes sync as stupidly easy as possible to get the job done without worrying about it – just like Dropbox.
For you tin foil hat club members out there, no, the Windows Live ID thing in Win8 isn’t required, nor is it mandatory to use SkyDrive within the OS. Online storage is important, Microsoft’s got it, has tons of free space we can use, and we just need better access to it.
Should Win8 get the proper SkyDrive integration, that will be the first instance where I can state a legitimate reason to upgrade to Windows 8, because so many things could be synced out there.
We’re not just talking about file backups here. You could theoretically sync your actual apps and programs. Wouldn’t it be cool to install an app on one Win8 PC, then go to another, login and have that app sync to the second PC without another install required? Personally, I think that’s pretty awesome.
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