Google is supposedly announcing its online file storage service, GDrive, next week.
But there’s already an alternative, and you really should try it.
It’s Microsoft’s SkyDrive, and it combines online storage with freebie versions of several Office apps including Word, Excel, PowerPoint ,and One Note.
SkyDrive is accessible via any browser on any operating system. It works on Windows, Macs, and Linux machines.
Microsoft made it even better this week by doing what would have been unthinkable a few years ago: you can now use SkyDrive with the free open source Microsoft Office alternative, LibreOffice, or any word processor that supports the ODF format. (Here’s a link to the news, which is a document hosted on SkyDrive.)
This means that you can download a Word file from SkyDrive to edit on your PC and it will open up LibreOffice (or OpenOffice.org) and let you edit it with that program.
Microsoft also added a couple of other features. It now lets you edit bigger files in your browser, for instance.
SkyDrive is also great because it lets you can upload ANY type of document to it. It really doesn’t care. This makes it both a cloud backup service and an Office apps service. It offers 25GB of free storage — more than Dropbox, and (according to rumour) more than Google’s upcoming GDrive, too.
This is great if you don’t care about collaboration for a particular file, but you just want it accessible from any device … for instance, I use it with my workout training schedule (which I can view on my Android phone via a browser).
There are more things that SkyDrive could and should do. For instance, it’s missing background file sync integrated with the operating system, where SkyDrive appears like a drive on your computer and doesn’t require a browser. Some of these features are coming for Windows 8 (which isn’t good news for me, as I’m using a Mac now).
But for a free service, SkyDrive is excellent.
Google is set to finally release its promised cloud storage service, GDrive, next week. I’m sure it will be a great free service, too. But if you don’t want to wait for that, SkyDrive is already here.