We’ve had an incredible week here in Chicago! There have been so many cool innovation announcements from all over the company. OneDrive is benefiting from many of these broader Microsoft investments but we’ve also spent this week outlining more details of the features we’re delivering directly in OneDrive during the remainder of 2015. I wanted to give you a view of the exciting announcements we’ve made and the timelines that are relevant for OneDrive users.
We demonstrated for the very first time a glimpse of our new unified sync client (for both PC and Mac) which allows a user to connect to and sync both their personal and business OneDrive files. The new sync client will preview in late Q3 2015 and be generally available by the end of the year. The PC client will work on Windows 7, 8 and 10 (but not 8.1 as we anticipate that most 8.1 users will take the free upgrade to Windows 10). The new client will deliver our number one requested feature for business users: selective sync, i.e. the ability for a user to determine which folders they want to take offline.
Today we offer the fundamentals of Office integration, the ability to open files from and save them to OneDrive. We also offer some great ways to share OneDrive files through email – we call this feature modern attachments. Today, modern attachments are only available in the Outlook Web App, but we’ve announced we’ll be bringing this functionality to Outlook 2016 when it ships later this year. Another cool Office feature that OneDrive benefits from is real-time co-authoring, i.e. the ability to see changes made by others appear directly in the document you are currently editing in Office Online. Again, this feature will be available in Office 2016 desktop apps later this year. Finally, we all receive loads of emails with document attachments and they can become frustratingly buried. Later this quarter, we’re bringing the ability to save email attachments in the Outlook Web App to your OneDrive for Business. This feature is already enabled for our personal users.
We’ve made great progress with our mobile experiences for OneDrive personal and business users. We now have single apps for iOS, Android and Windows Phone that allow users to connect to both their personal and business OneDrive. Coming soon we’re adding a number of exciting new features to these apps. For our iOS and Android apps we’re bringing a new PDF viewing experience. You’ll have an easier and richer way to navigate and search PDF files on your OneDrive – this will be shipped later this quarter. In future releases you’ll also be able to apply annotations (notes) to PDF files from the OneDrive mobile apps – there are no current timelines for this feature.
We also have a broad set of investments for people wanting to take their OneDrive files offline. Starting in Q3 2015 we’re providing the ability for mobile users to take selected files offline for read-only viewing. Beyond this we’ll provide the ability to take individual files offline and edit them on the mobile device with any changes made being applied back to the file in OneDrive when the user goes back online. After these capabilities are added we’ll enable users to take whole folders offline. Offline editing of files and folders has no timeline at present but we’ll keep you informed.
Finally, we’ll be shipping a Windows 10 universal OneDrive app (with the offline read-only files capability) before the end of the year.
OneDrive for Business browser experience
In Q3 2015 we’ll deliver a significant user experience refresh to the OneDrive for Business web client. It will bring the theme, look and feel from our consumer service to business users making the web experience consistent, cleaner and simpler. At the same time we’re also making some big changes in how business users share their files with others. We’re introducing a feature to make it easy to share files across the company without needing a formal invite. A user can generate a sharing link that can be forwarded to anyone in the organization and grants them access to that file. This allows files to be easily shared and re-shared without the need of a formal share invitation – if the user chooses to do so. We’re also making it easier to stop sharing a file as well. To make it simpler to take sole ownership of a file once sharing is no longer needed we’re adding a button to immediately remove all access to a file, except that of the owner.
IT, security, control, compliance and developer
For IT we have lots of new capabilities to help you secure and manage OneDrive for Business. We currently have auditing & reporting and data loss prevention (DLP) features coming out of preview and will start to roll out broadly. For auditing & reporting we’re delivering a user activity report, a report of file activities (view, create, edit, download, delete, share etc.) that can be filtered by date range, user or file. The report can be exported (up to 2000 rows) to csv files and we’ll be adding a modern REST-based API this summer.
Our new DLP capabilities for preventing the sharing of sensitive data from OneDrive for Business are currently in preview and we’ll start rolling this out late this quarter.
In the coming weeks we’re also bringing new admin controls to allow blocking sync on unmanaged (non -domain joined) PC’s – stay tuned for announcements on this soon. Coupled with this we’ll enable admins to set specific storage quotas for all users, if you don’t want users to be able to use the full 1 TB of space available (moving to unlimited in 2015) then you can set the quota that is appropriate for your organization. This will also roll out later this quarter.
There were so many announcements at Ignite that it would take a 16-page blog post to capture all the details you need. Here’s a suggested set of Ignite sessions available on demand to learn more:
As you’ve seen with the progress we’re making and the announcements we made at Ignite – with OneDrive we’re all in! We’re providing simple experiences across browser, sync and mobile that are consistent for both consumer and business OneDrive users. Our vision is that OneDrive is the most powerful solution for anyone who uses Office or needs cloud storage while meeting the security and compliance requirements of organizations of all sizes. Stay tuned for the many feature releases during the course of 2015 and there are plenty of things coming in 2015 that we didn’t announce at Ignite, we needed to keep a few surprises for you along the way!
Director, Product Management, OneDrive