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Windows 8.1 to feature built-in cloud storage, Bing search

With Windows 8.1 to launch in just a few short weeks, the top highlight for many is the built in cloud storage and revival of the start menu.

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Windows 8.1 officially out this month

Windows 8.1 is set to release on October 18, 2013. One of the most hailed features is SkyDrive, which is a bit similar to Google’s Drive feature. SkyDrive is Microsoft’s “smart file” (previously placeholder files) system for organizing your hard drive and cloud storage, eliminating the need to download every file to every device you use. SkyDrive will be coupled with a new optical character recognition (OCR) feature that simplifies searches through your SkyDrive for files.

The OCR search feature is powered by Bing and gives you a single search bar to find anything local or in the cloud. You no longer need to switch back and forth. This feature works by “reading” text in a photograph and captures it, so when you search for that text, you are able to find the photo, without digging through folders.

Kind of like Evernote

It is similar to Evernote, in that it helps you keep track of what is important and where it is. This feature will work even if your camera roll is set to “online-only” because it is essentially a mini-placeholder of regular files you have uploaded to the cloud. So when you search for a photo, find the one need and open it, it will be pulled from the could for your to view fully, without the need to download to every device.

SkyDrive will definitely help you save space on your hard drive. If you are one of the millions of people using a tablet or smartphone, you can choose how much cloud storage each device receives so your device is never overloaded, but always has what you need, when you need it.

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Not all files are synced automatically. SkyDrive knows which files you frequently use and tags them, so you may need to download unaccessed files locally in order to use and sync them. But, this is easy to do. You can move, delete, rename, and copy files to and from your SkyDrive. And now, you can upgrade to 200GB on SkyDrive for $100 a year. This gives you the maximum amount of storage space for videos, music, and documents, at a cheaper price than Dropbox.

Windows 8.1 is a free upgrade for Windows 8 users, or can be downloaded/bought at various price points, with most people excited about SkyDrive and about getting their start menu back.

Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

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