SkyDrive integration is a key part of the upcoming update
Not only is cloud storage service SkyDrive set to become an integral part of Windows with the upcoming Windows 8.1 update, but Redmond is also trying to make the whole thing smarter. To this end, the company has introduced “smart files.”
A new SkyDrive feature built right into Windows 8.1, smart files are essentially placeholder files and thumbnails that make it possible for the user to interact with their entire SkyDrive without having to first download each and every file, thereby conserving both local disk space and Internet bandwidth.
One area where this feature should really shine through is when using Bing Smart Search to look for images that have text in them. By leveraging the Bing-powered OCR (optical character recognition) feature that Microsoft announced recently for SkyDrive, you will be able to “search from the desktop for the content of Camera Roll photos that have had text extracted from them” regardless of whether those photos are stored locally or not.
“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,” Microsoft wrote in a blog post Monday.
“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.”