It’s still a long way from Google Drive, but even still this is well worth a look. Microsoft has just announced that it has improved SkyDrive with selected file syncing, easier desktop sharing and mobile updates.

Microsoft SkyDrive

They are small things in reality, but ones that will make it much easier to manipulate SkyDrive and give the people over at Google Drive reason to pay attention.

Having recently opened a SkyDrive account with the intention of using it on the go, one of the principal annoyances has been the syncing functionality that has meant hours spent unloading some of the files out of my account that really shouldn’t be anywhere except the recycle bin.

SkyDrive Syncing

On the Windows blog during the week, Mike Torres Group Program Manager with SkyDrive apps says that they have tweaked this so that users will have better control over what SkyDrive syncs.

He says that with the new functionality users will be able to keep all their files and documents in SkyDrive and then sync selected documents to their desktop, even if the desktop is set to sync the full set.

It’s easy to set up and offers the user complete control over SkyDrive instead of handing that control over to your desktop. If you want to see more on this check out the video, with annoying music below.

SkyDrive Sharing

He also says that sharing documents and files has been made easier with users all over the world. Already, SkyDrive has the ability to share material through links posted on social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter.

However, it seems that there has been considerable demand for other ways of sharing, particularly from File Explorer. As of this week, users can share files by right-clicking on the file selecting ‘Share’, which will cause your default browser to open to SkyDrive and you can share the file directly from there. For files in Word, Excel or PowerPoint you can also view the file directly in SkyDrive.

SkyDrive for Windows Phone 8

The final enhancement is released just in time for the US launch of the Windows Phone 8. It comes in the shape of an optimized SkyDrive app for Windows Phone 8 that provides better visual updates that fit into Phone 8 .

It means that users can search their SkyDrive files and folders, as well as control photo and document upload and download size.

SkyDrive for Windows Phone 8.jpg

Windows Phone 8 SkyDrive

There are also a number of performance enhancements that will make the whole SkyDrive-Windows Phone 8 relationship easier. Among those are:

  • Files can be uploaded from SD cards
  • Files can be renamed in SkyDrive
  • Custom sort orders for every view

If you’ve already installed the SkyDrive sync app for Windows, you don’t need to do much other than wait for it. The updates are rolling out right now while desktop apps will automatically update as they happen. No mention at all of iOS, though.

SkyDrive still has ways to go before it can offer the agility and functionality of Google Drive, but it is heading in that direction.