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Microsoft SkyDrive apps to get photo sync, more storage

Microsoft today released several updates to its SkyDrive apps for Windows and Mac, and promised a bug-fix update for its iOS app soon.

The update includes four main upgrades, as well as routine bug fixes, Mike Torres, group program manager for SkyDrive Apps, wrote in a blog post.

On tap for SkyDrive for Windows desktop is a feature that will be available in the upcoming Windows 8 Release Preview. "Right from the Photos app in Windows 8, you can fetch photos stored on your other PCs that have SkyDrive installed - no matter where you are or how many terabytes of photos you have stored on the PC you are accessing", Torres wrote.

More details about that option will be released "shortly", he said.

Microsoft has also increased the total number of files allowed in SkyDrive folders created by apps from 150,000 to 10 million. "This should unblock some power users from easily adding lots of files to their SkyDrive folder", Torres said.

Torres also promised SkyDrive folders that update more quickly and reliably when changes are made on multiple devices, including

On OS X Lion, Microsoft has ditched the app icon from the dock. "We've definitely heard the feedback that it wasn't necessary", Torres wrote.

The updates come about a month after Microsoft added new features to SkyDrive, including a new "fetch" remote PC access service, new storage options and the ability to access SkyDrive via iOS and Windows Phone smartphones. The company also released a new preview client for OS X Lion.

"In just a few weeks, more people were using SkyDrive apps than have used [Windows Live] Mesh", Torres said. "People using SkyDrive for Windows or Mac are now our most engaged users - syncing files across several devices, sharing with, and working together with Office Web Apps".

Also today, Microsoft announced a community cloud offering for US government customers. Office 365 for Government will store data in a segregated community cloud, Microsoft said, and provides access to services like Exchange Online, Lync Online, SharePoint Online and Office Professional Plus.