Microsoft has unveiled the third generation of OneDrive, bringing a refined and modern user experience to the cloud storage/file sharing app. The revamp includes a Fluent design update that aligns OneDrive with the Windows 11 interface, new and improved business functionalities for sharing and using cloud documents, and the integration of Microsoft's Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered Microsoft Copilot system. With 2 billion files added daily, OneDrive securely stores trillions of files for customers globally.
The newly unveiled AI enhancements are primed to deliver advanced search and sharing options, and cutting-edge information queries across all files in OneDrive. These monumental changes are scheduled for release in 2023, with subsequent enhancements planned for 2024 as part of Microsoft's dedication to advancing their product offering in line with AI advancements.
New Copilot in OneDrive Experience
OneDrive's Copilot feature is a key component of its new AI enhancements. Copilot will be made available to customers holding a Microsoft 365 Copilot license from December. The AI tool promises a better file management experience, empowering users to pose open-ended questions related to specific files and obtain summary content, irrespective of the file's location across all Microsoft 365 apps, negating location-based search and retrieval challenges.
Advancements in AI Integration and Offline Capabilities
OneDrive's search feature will also benefit from general AI integration, making it simpler for users to discover friends and family in stored pictures. Initial testing will begin in limited preview this month, and a public preview is slated for early 2024. Microsoft has also added an offline mode for OneDrive on the web, which guarantees that users can access the platform without an internet connection. the Files on Demand feature allows files to be marked as available offline. Both the offline mode and Files on Demand, formerly only available in the main OneDrive desktop app, will also debut in early 2024.
OneDrive's Web View and Interactive Features
In a bid to enhance the user experience, Microsoft has also updated the main OneDrive web app, which now features a unique file recommendation section labeled “For You”. The mechanism relies on AI to highlight files relevant for the user's workday. Other enhancements to the web view include an overhauled sharing User Interface (UI) and streamlined permission management for files. Microsoft thereby aims to consolidate OneDrive as the central platform for managing and accessing all files.
OneDrive and Other Microsoft Apps
The upgrade comes with tighter integration between OneDrive and other Microsoft offerings. For businesses, the update facilitates opening any document from OneDrive on the web in native desktop apps, a feature set to launch in December. Likewise, the new OneDrive experience will soon be accessible in the files sections of both Microsoft Teams and the file navigation segment of Outlook.
As part of the daily digest feature, Copilot will offer summarized updates on comments and important changes to files, thereby enhancing the user's document management efficiency. The first batch of interface changes to OneDrive can currently be tested on onedrive.com, with more changes unveiled in early 2024.