Experimenting With Live SkyDrive

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First, credit where credit is due. Anytime you create an MS product name that makes users think of a Beatles song, you're doing something right.

A lot has already been written about the basic functionality of Live SkyDrive, but so far I haven't heard about my favorite feature: the bouncing ball game that pops up while you are waiting for a file to upload. It was completely unexpected, and turned what should have been a dull and frustrating user experience into something surprisingly fun.

Why is this important? Because it tells me that the team really thought through the user experience and focused in on all the little details that can make or break a service, especially one in such an already crowded space.

It's interesting to watch the Live offerings evolve. I used to look at Live and see three things: Hotmail, Messenger, and Search. Now I'm starting to look at Live from a different perspective. Hotmail is the front end to a robust, massive, scalable data center. Messenger is a social graph with a quarter of a billion active nodes, which is the foundation of any viral distribution platform (the social graph is Facebook's "secret sauce"). And Live Search could leverage their existing ad platforms and new acquisitions to build out a monetization engine that fullfills that magic Web 2.0 equation: 'users = currency'. Add to that a federated identity solution. New development tools. And a consistent set of APIs that can tie everything together.

That's why I'm excited to see the progress that Live SkyDrive is making. It's a compelling offering, for sure, but for me it's a taste of the types of applications that can be created when the pieces of the Live puzzle start to fit together.

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