Microsoft released an update today for its cloud platform called the SkyDrive and has finally dropped Microsoft’s proprietary Silverlight from the system, opting for a cross-platform compatible HTML 5. Silverlight required users to download a browser plugin in order to work and thankfully the company realized it needed to transition away from it to stay competitive. Over the last few months, it’s been slowly expelling Silverlight from its platforms.
The new SkyDrive interface is now more streamlined with built-in Groups and the option to open up Word and Excel docs online or in their traditional desktop counterparts. Edits performed in both the online and desktop versions sync harmoniously. The SkyDrive also now acts more like a central hub for bringing together all your Windows Live files, documents, and photos instead of just a storage service running in the background.
Photos and videos are now viewed using HTML 5 and resizing and browsing are generally smoother thanks to CSS 3 transitions. The system still presents the familiar interface of a traditional file system, but now works a lot faster and takes better advantage of hardware acceleration and caching. Perhaps, in time, the interface may be streamlined to match the Windows Metro styling found in its Windows Phone UI. The recent Windows 8 demo and the revamped Xbox LIVE UI suggest Microsoft is heading this direction to unify and create a more cohesive ecosystem.