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Microsoft Encourage OneDrive Use for Sending Files via Email

Microsoft has announced a new feature for their online Outlook web service. Outlook.com is the successor to Microsoft’s hugely popular Hotmail service, the latter of which was officially fully rolled into the former in 2013. This new feature is called ‘Share from OneDrive’ and encourages users to simply upload their files to Microsoft’s cloud service rather than send them via email.

The new function can be found through the ‘Insert’ menu when composing an email. All users have to do is select the file from their OneDrive account and send their email as normal. The recipient of the email is then asked whether they want to view the file or download. It’s seamless and unobtrusive, which is exactly how it should be.

Although users are likely to continue sending small files as attachments to emails, purely due to the speed and efficiency of doing so, anything large being sent through email has always been a bit of a hassle with various problems associated with it. The user sending the large file may find it takes ages to upload and then even longer to actually send. The receiver might not have enough space in their inbox to actually receive the file.

“Sending large files as email attachments has always been tricky: They can take a long time to upload and send, and may bounce back, never reaching the recipient,” said James Shield, product marketing manager for Outlook.com. "We had this in mind when we created the Share from OneDrive feature -we wanted to provide customers with a way to easily avoid these problems, while still being able to share their files.”

However, this isn’t just a feature that is going to benefit the end-user. It’s also great for Microsoft. While it’ll reduce load on their email server, the main draw for the giant tech firm is getting people invested deeper in their ecosystem. With masses of cloud services available on the market, Microsoft are keen to get people signed up to OneDrive and using it for more than just email attachments.

OneDrive itself has been going through a lot of changes recently. Following the name change from SkyDrive (after a lawsuit from BSkyB), Microsoft introduced various adjustments: 15GB of free storage instead of 7GB, 10GB being the maximum file size limit instead of 2GB, and decreased prices for paid users.

This new ‘Share from OneDrive feature’ might be another step in Microsoft’s long-term plan to get rid of standard email attachments as we know them. Earlier in the year, those who used Outlook Web App were able to edit Office files within their internet browser without having to download files, make the changes and then resend.

Microsoft is in a very similar position to Google. Both companies hold vast shares of the market and both are competing with their own email and cloud products. It’s probably only likely that these two firms will continue to integrate their products further, ensuring that if someone uses one of their products then they’ll be more interested in using others too.

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