OneDrive roll out starts, new features added to the service

Microsoft has started to make the change from SkyDrive to OneDrive, and is offering a few new features to entince new users.

Microsoft today began the roll out of OneDrive, its cloud storage service previously named SkyDrive. It had to change the name due to legal issues with BSkyB in the UK, in which the cable company argued caused confusion among many of its customers.

To coincide with the re-branding, Microsoft sent an email to subscribers to let them know that they can claim an extra 20GB of storage for free, but which will last for only one year. When you click on the link in the email, you are asked to log in to your OneDrive account, and then a window pops up with a code already in place for you to redeem the extra space. The storage, which is called an 'Enthusiast bonus' because it is for users who 'showed interest in OneDrive before it launched', is valid for one year, after which you will have to purchase the data or presumably lose it. The default amount of free space for OneDrive is 7GB, with 50GB being the smallest plan and costing $25 per year.

On the OneDrive blog, Microsoft said the new name and free storage is only part of the story. The service will now also contain new capabilities, including automatic camera backup for Android phones, and transcoding that can make it easier to view and share videos online.

A new referral program has also been rolled out, which, according to the OneDrive blog post, can give you an extra 500MB for each person you refer who signs up for the service. This is capped at 5GB. If you use the camera feature we mentioned earlier, you will also get a further 3GB of free storage.

New payment methods are part of the roll out, with monthly payment plans being introduced.

Melissa Dewick, product manager for apps and services at Microsoft Australia, said in a statement that "with OneDrive, Australians now have an easy way to store and share their favourite photos and videos, documents and files. People are carrying around a broader range of devices, and it’s more important than ever to back up content to the cloud. OneDrive allows consumers to take that step and have their content with them at all times”.

Chris Jones, the corporate vice president of OS services at Microsoft, said that the purpose of OneDrive is to make a user's content easy to find, available all the time, and on any device. "When someone picks up their phone, tablet or any other device, they just want all of their favourite photos and the documents they need at their fingertips — they don’t want to have to hunt for them".

He added, about the OneDrive service, "We’re building it right into all of the latest Microsoft devices and services — from Xbox to Windows Phone and Windows 8.1 to Office — but we’re also making sure it’s available on the Web and across all other platforms including iOS and Android, so your photos, videos and files are all available anytime you need them”.

A press release from Microsoft Australia also said that the company is giving an additional 100GB of complimentary storage for one year to 100,000 customers who are the first to access their OneDrive account after the launch. Customers will receive a notice if they are among the lucky ones.

For more information, read the update on Microsoft's OneDrive blog.

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