Microsoft upgrades OneDrive photo management

The cloud storage service received photo-related improvements in Xbox One and Windows Phone 8.1 devices

Microsoft has added photo management features to OneDrive as it fights cloud storage rivals Dropbox, Apple, Google and Box for consumers and business customers by lowering prices and increasing capabilities.

The new OneDrive features are designed to improve how the service handles photos in the Xbox One gaming console, Windows Phone 8.1 smartphones and the browser-based version of the product.

For Xbox One customers, Microsoft is no longer requiring an Xbox Live Gold Subscription to get access to the OneDrive application. "This change will hit consoles soon as part of the June [software] update," wrote Microsoft official Douglas Pearce in a blog post.

The OneDrive app for Xbox One has also been tweaked so that it displays the most recently stored photos as soon as it is launched. It also now gives users the option of viewing photos organized by time and date. Meanwhile, smartphones running Windows Phone 8.1 now automatically back up photos taken with the devices to OneDrive.

Finally, OneDrive.com now gives people in the U.S. the option to print out photos at Walgreens. "You can specify the size and quantity and they'll be ready for pickup from your local Walgreens in about an hour," Pearce wrote. Through the end of the year, Walgreens is offering a 25 percent discount on all orders from OneDrive.com.

OneDrive competes in the cloud-storage and file-sharing consumer market, while OneDrive for Business, as its name implies, is the workplace version of the product. Dropbox's service and Google Drive also come in consumer and business versions.

On Monday, Apple announced enhancements to its own cloud storage service, iCloud, including a new component called Drive, which lets users store files of any type in the service and access them from Macs, iPhones, iPads and Windows PCs. Apple also lowered iCloud prices and announced improved photo management with the new iCloud Photo Library feature and with enhanced photo apps on iOS and MacOS.

In April, Dropbox announced a new photo manager called Carousel for its cloud storage service.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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