Microsoft redesigns business OneDrive version and announces features

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Microsoft has given the business version of OneDrive a new design, with a customized home screen. Additionally, the company announced new features such as the ability to open non-365 files in OneDrive in their app.

OneDrive seems with the new design more in the style of Windows 11 and gets a For you section in the start screen, which presents a number of tiles with recommendations, such as recently modified files or new recordings of meetings. In this home screen, users can also create new files or folders, view shared and favorite files, see an overview of people and meetings, and a list of frequently used SharePoint sites.

It is not clear if and when this home screen will be available to consumers. Microsoft does say that it should be possible for the consumer version of OneDrive to recognize people’s faces, provided the user gives permission for this. OneDrive can then search for faces within photos and present them to the user if they are looking for specific people. The consumer version will also have the option to work with ‘natural searches’, such as the search query ‘camping in the fall, in the mountains with Caroline’. These consumer features will be released in limited preview this month; These functions should become more widely available early next year.

Apart from these consumer functions, business customers will receive new functions in OneDrive ‘expected in December’. For example, it should be possible to open a non-365 file such as a PDF or CAD file from OneDrive in a PDF or CAD app, as is already possible with Word, PowerPoint and Excel files. In addition, OneDrive will be better integrated into Teams and Outlook, allowing you to search for OneDrive files in these apps without having to leave the app.

OneDrive in Outlook

Furthermore, it should become possible early next year to save OneDrive files locally via the web browser and use them offline, as this is already possible in the OneDrive app. These files can then be opened and edited in the browser; any adjustments will then be synchronized when there is an internet connection again. Next summer there should also be a Media view, in which all images, videos and media can be seen.

Microsoft also announced Copilot AI features for OneDrive, such as the ability to search for files or ask for document summaries. This should be possible this December for Microsoft 365 Copilot customers. In the coming months, Microsoft plans to release more Copilot features, which will eventually let people talk to OneDrive in “natural language” and, for example, ask to share all files around a specific project. OneDrive may then suggest bundling these files into a new folder, after which it will suggest other files that may also be relevant. If the user wants to share this folder with a colleague, Copilot could generate a summary to provide that colleague with context.

The company is also releasing new security and admin features, such as the ability to enable multi-factor authentication for specific, more sensitive sites, or restrict the sharing of certain files. There is also an account migration tool to help with, for example, acquired or merged companies. Admins also have the option to block the download of certain files for local use and to disable the recording of certain Teams meetings. Microsoft is also working on the ability to see as an admin when files are shared with users outside the company or organization.

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