SkyDrive smart files will be searchable with Windows 8.1

By Kip Kniskern | In Featured, News | Posted September 30, 2013 26 comments

Back in July, the SkyDrive team introduced us to placeholder files, or “smart files”, basically image and document thumbnails which show you what’s on your online SkyDrive without actually saving a copy of the entire file on your hard drive. Smart files make syncing and storing files easier, and can be essential when using a low storage capacity tablet like the Surface RT I’m using, allowing you to see what’s on your SkyDrive but not using up precious disc space.

Today, in a blog post on the Inside SkyDrive blog, Mona Akmal (a recent “Geek of the Week” over at GeekWire) reviews the concept of “smart files”, and announces that they will soon be searchable from within Windows 8.1’s Smart Search, including text within images extracted with Bing-powered OCR:

For example, you might have taken a photo 6 months ago of the menu of your favorite restaurant, but can’t remember where it’s buried in your Camera Roll and want to remember the dish you had. You can simply type in the restaurant name on your desktop and Bing Smart Search will search text of your Camera Roll photos and pull up the picture of the menu with the restaurant name printed on it. With the power of smart files, this will work even if your Camera Roll is marked for online-only access. The moment you open the photo, it will be instantaneously pulled from the cloud for you to view the full version.

You can learn more on SkyDrive and smart files on the blog post, which includes a couple of Channel 9 videos (with SkyDrive Development Manager Adam Czeisler and SkyDrive Product Marketing Manager Jamie Papin-Wynne), explaining more about smart files and extracted OCR.

Afraid there’s still no word on any rebrand of SkyDrive, the term still seems to be in full use and continues to be marketed. Apparently the guys at BskyB have a bit to learn on what “a reasonable period of time” means to Microsoft!

Posted September 30th, 2013 at 12:01 pm
Category: Featured, News
Tags: Bing, OCR, SkyDrive, Windows 8.1
  • Joe Blo

    Fantastic !

  • Joe Blo

    Fantastic !

  • davidmk

    I just hope there will be an option to keep the full copies of all files on the local machine, otherwise it will be headed the way of Google drive (specifically Google Docs) and rendering the files useless if you’re somewhere without internet.

    I don’t want my files to exist only in the cloud, SkyDrive has served this function perfectly… until now.

    PLEASE let there be an option to sync full copies of all files on a machine if I want it to.

    • damaster

      You can. In Windows 8.1, go to the SkyDrive (metro) app, go to the Settings charm > Options, then turn on “Make all files available offline”.

      • davidmk

        Lucky for me then! Though I wouldn’t have thought to go into the Metro app for the setting… I’m showing my age… I’m resisting change!

        • http://www.theforwardist.com/liveside Kip Kniskern – LiveSide.net

          You can also open Windows Explorer in the desktop and right click on your SkyDrive folder (or any folder or file within your SkyDrive folder) and “Make Available Offline”, or unsync them the same way and delete the local file(s).

          • davidmk

            I had found that option, before I rolled back from 8.1 to 8, but it ended up being quite a task given the number of folders I have in my NameToBeAdvicedDrive. I like the idea of the over-arching offline option.

          • damaster

            You can just click on the over-arching “SkyDrive” on the left pane of your File Explorer and click on “Make Available Offline” to make the entire drive offline. This works the same as “Make all files available offline” in the Metro app…

          • davidmk

            I thought I’d tried that and didn’t see the option… I could be wrong… as I don’t have 8.1 installed any more.

      • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

        Is there a way to mark only certain folders to be kept offline? I wouldn’t want my entire 4.5 GB SkyDrive to be downloaded to my computer.

  • davidmk

    I just hope there will be an option to keep the full copies of all files on the local machine, otherwise it will be headed the way of Google drive (specifically Google Docs) and rendering the files useless if you’re somewhere without internet.

    I don’t want my files to exist only in the cloud, SkyDrive has served this function perfectly… until now.

    PLEASE let there be an option to sync full copies of all files on a machine if I want it to.

    • damaster

      You can. In Windows 8.1, go to the SkyDrive (metro) app, go to the Settings charm > Options, then turn on “Make all files available offline”.

      • davidmk

        Lucky for me then! Though I wouldn’t have thought to go into the Metro app for the setting… I’m showing my age… I’m resisting change!

        • http://www.LiveSide.net Kip Kniskern – LiveSide.net

          You can also open Windows Explorer in the desktop and right click on your SkyDrive folder (or any folder or file within your SkyDrive folder) and “Make Available Offline”, or unsync them the same way and delete the local file(s).

          • davidmk

            I had found that option, before I rolled back from 8.1 to 8, but it ended up being quite a task given the number of folders I have in my NameToBeAdvicedDrive. I like the idea of the over-arching offline option.

          • damaster

            You can just click on the over-arching “SkyDrive” on the left pane of your File Explorer and click on “Make Available Offline” to make the entire drive offline. This works the same as “Make all files available offline” in the Metro app…

          • davidmk

            I thought I’d tried that and didn’t see the option… I could be wrong… as I don’t have 8.1 installed any more.

      • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

        Is there a way to mark only certain folders to be kept offline? I wouldn’t want my entire 4.5 GB SkyDrive to be downloaded to my computer.

  • http://gcoupe.wordpress.com/ Geoff Coupe

    It would be even more useful if SkyDrive and Smart Files would be aware of image metadata such as descriptive tags. At the moment, both of them ignore most of the standard metadata stored as XMP in image files

  • http://gcoupe.wordpress.com/ Geoff Coupe

    It would be even more useful if SkyDrive and Smart Files would be aware of image metadata such as descriptive tags. At the moment, both of them ignore most of the standard metadata stored as XMP in image files

  • Yuan Taizong

    These features are awesome, I can’t wait to upgrade… I mean update my P.C. :-D

  • Yuan Taizong

    These features are awesome, I can’t wait to upgrade… I mean update my P.C. :-D

  • Mark D

    Well done, they ripped off Symantec vault and every other stubbing solution in existence. News at 7. Innovation at when?

    • SoThenISaid…

      … I am sooo jealous of individuals who are so rich they can use Symantec Vault Enterprise for archival and e-discovery on their personal files.

  • Mark D

    Well done, they ripped off Symantec vault and every other stubbing solution in existence. News at 7. Innovation at when?

    • SoThenISaid…

      … I am sooo jealous of individuals who are so rich they can use Symantec Vault Enterprise for archival and e-discovery on their personal files.