Last week Microsoft announced that OneDrive had been updated to allow for music to be stored by users in the cloud service and stream them to your various Windows powered devices and Xbox. The update was free to all OneDrive users and there were some extra bonuses for those who are Xbox Music Pass subscribers. At the time of the launch Microsoft also released an updated version of Xbox Music for Windows Phone to support this integration of the service with OneDrive. Now they have released an update that addresses some issues with the app but also includes a tutorial of how the integration works. The update, version 2.6.674.0 for those keeping score at home, is available now in the Windows Phone Store.
OneDrive for Windows Phone has received a small but important update today that allows you to more easily share work files with colleagues from the app. The update, version 184.108.40.206 for those keeping score at home, only lists this addition as the changes in this version versus the previous build which brought several improvements including PIN locking. In order to use this new feature you must be using an OneDrive for Business account through your organization.
A feature that many of us have wanted has finally arrived. Microsoft today has flipped the switch and you can now store your music within OneDrive and stream that music directly from any device. The update means that you can have Xbox Music look in the new Music folder that is now in your OneDrive account and you can upload your music to that folder. Once you do that and everything is synchronized, you can stream your music straight from OneDrive, eliminating the need for storing it locally.
OneDrive for Windows Phone has received a significant update today, bringing several new features to the cloud storage app. The new update, version 4.7 for those keeping score at home, is available now in the Windows Phone Store and brings four key updates that continue to level the playing field between the Windows Phone version and iOS or Android versions of OneDrive.
The first new feature is PIN lock support. Now in OneDrive for Windows Phone you can setup a 4-digit PIN which will be required to access your files. It is an added layer of security so if your device is lost or stolen, you have one more barrier for thieves to get through to get to your OneDrive files. Obviously you should make sure the 4-digit PIN for OneDrive is different than the one you use to unlock your phone outright.
Today’s announcement from the OneDrive team of the new OneDrive API is great news. For those of you who aren’t developers, the new OneDrive API will allow developers to allow full functionality of OneDrive in their apps. It also provides better speed and includes the ability to retrieve new changes to files and folders to keep a large set of files efficiently in sync. It allows rsumable uploads of files up to 10GB via file-fragment uploading for things like videos and it allows for a customizable file thumbnail images to be delivered between the developers app and OneDrive. For consumers, the new OneDrive API may not sound super sexy but it will bring a new level of OneDrive integration into apps regardless of the platform of that app – iOS, Android, Windows or Windows Phone. What it means is you can expect more apps on your favorite devices to be integrated with OneDrive.
The more exciting news and one that I suspect many people – including developers – missed is one line that is in the blog post about the new OneDrive API.
Internally, we are beginning to use the new API in all of our apps. This ensures that everyone is building on the platform with the same set of tools. Whenever we have access to new functionality, so will you.
For the developer community this is huge for one reason if for no other. It means that Microsoft will not change the OneDrive API just for themselves. It will be for everyone including them internally. That in effect future proofs their apps and makes OneDrive as a platform far more viable. This is big news peeps.
Microsoft has announced that students around the world can access Office 365 free-of-charge through their school. The news is an exciting development that will open up the online version of Office as well as an installed version of Office to students globally. Until today this was only available to students and educators in the United States.
To find out if you are eligible, you need a valid school address and have access to that email to get the verification information. For students, go to this link to see if you qualify. For Teachers, you go to this link. Once you have been verified, you can get the latest version of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access and Publisher and can install it on up to five PCs or Macs and up to 5 mobile devices. In addition, you get 1TB of OneDrive storage so you can share all your files across your devices and of course access to the online versions of Office.
It is an amazing deal and great to see how Microsoft is supporting educators and students by providing this powerful suite of applications free. It also should squelch some undertones in the market that Microsoft is not really interested in the Education market, having all-but given up on it thanks to the heavy push from Apple. Clearly that is not the case. By giving educators and students access to a full Office 365 account should remove any doubt.
For more information on this program, check out the Office Blogs.
Microsoft continues to give away OneDrive storage like it is candy. Earlier today I post about Bing Rewards customers globally getting a free 100GB of storage just by signing up. Now Redmond has extended an offer of an additional 100GB of storage for those of you with a Dropbox account. While Microsoft and Dropbox have done a lot of work together over these past few months including bringing an official Dropbox app to Windows and Windows Phone 8.1, they are still competitors and Microsoft clearly is showing they intend to win as many customers to their cloud storage service as possible.
Here is the deal: First, you have to have an active Dropbox account. If you don’t have one because you already use OneDrive, no problem. Go open a free 2GB account at Dropbox. I’ll wait while you go do that….
At the beginning of February, Microsoft made a great offer to Bing Rewards members here in the United States by giving them 100GB of OneDrive storage for the next two years with a simple mouse click. Now they have extended that offer globally so everyone can take part. For those who aren’t familiar with Bing Rewards, it is a point-based system of rewards that you get for using Bing for searches on your PC or mobile device. On your mobile that can be through Cortana on Windows Phone or the Bing apps on iOS and Android. It’s free to join and with the 100GB of storage on OneDrive, its a double incentive to join. There is no cost associated with it.