Microsoft unveils SkyDrive for Windows 8.1 Smart Files

It is no secret that with the introduction of Windows 8.1, SkyDrive, the Microsoft cloud-based storage solution, will get much deeper integration. But now the company is detailing a bit more than what had already been gleaned from the RTM, announcing a new Smart Files feature, incorporating Bing with it.

Smart Files has been merged into SkyDrive in version 8.1 of Windows, but the company has revealed more details about how it will work and what customers can expect.

"In the Windows 8.1 preview we saw consumers using SkyDrive in two distinct ways. The first group of people are very conscious of what they have saved to disk and most of their files are online-only. We found that the majority of people using smart files take up 80% less disk space than they would without smart files. The second group of people are on the other end of the spectrum: they explicitly chose to have all their files available offline, and so have their entire SkyDrive stored locally", says Mona Akmal, the Group Program Manager for SkyDrive apps.

Smart Search is powered by Bing and can work right from the desktop in the next-generation version of Windows -- enter a keyword based on a subject from a photo or document and Microsoft promises that it can find the file. "People are starting to take photos not only to capture special moments, but also to keep track of everyday information, so we are really excited about this scenario and proud to unveil this valuable OCR search feature", the cloud team states.

The company plans to unleash version 8.1 on the public in October, but select users can get it now. SkyDrive integration is among the many changes being made to the Windows 8 successor, some of which customers actually asked for -- others mostly perceived by Microsoft. Smart Files is just one more detail coming to the forefront in this upcoming release.

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