Microsoft announced today that Xbox 360 owners will now be able to use the company's SkyDrive cloud storage service, allowing them to download and share files such as videos and photos with other users.
The SkyDrive app will go live later today; users should be able to see it on their Xbox after 1 p.m. ET.
"Starting today, we're bringing even more value to SkyDrive and Xbox customers with a new SkyDrive app for Xbox 360," Microsoft program manager Dan Somrack wrote in a blog post. "This means your favorite content is now only one click away, whether you are using the web, your PC, your phone, or now, even your big screen TV."
Additionally, Microsoft plans to release more than forty new apps for the Xbox between now and spring 2013.
The apps, which vary by geographical region, include television and music streaming, home shopping, and access to magazine content such as Maxim, according to Larry Hryb, Microsoft's director of programming for the Xbox gaming network. Hryb also goes by the pseudonym Major Nelson.
SkyDrive interface on Xbox 360
In October, Microsoft blogged that it would be updating native apps for Windows 8 -- Bing being the first -- followed by SkyDrive. Included in a list of app features is the ability to crop and rotate photos and search inside the SkyDrive app.
Last month, Microsoft announced that SkyDrive users could select which folders from SkyDrive are synced - making it easier to use the service with laptops or tablets with small drives. . The SkyDrive app will allow Xbox users to download to the cloud or upload and share photos and videos with other Skydrive and Xbox users.
Windows Phone users can also take photos and they will appear almost immediately in the camera roll, which can then be viewed on a television via the Xbox. The photos can also be used as a slide show.
"This feels like magic! For example, you could take a quick snapshot of your child making a funny face, fire up the SkyDrive app on your Xbox, and view it right away on your 50-in screen," Somrack wrote. "Just make sure you're using the same Microsoft account sign-in for both Xbox LIVE and your Windows Phone."
The SkyDrive app for Xbox also supports Kinect voice controls and gestures, as well as remote and controller input.
"Yes, this means you can view a slide show of your SkyDrive photos just by talking to your Xbox..., which is very, very cool," he said.
Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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