Look out Dropbox and Google Drive, Microsoft seems poised to compete for customers with its made-over SkyDrive personal cloud storage service. Redmond on Wednesday re-launched the service once known as SkyDrive as OneDrive.

OneDrive is a free personal cloud storage service that consumers can use to store photos, videos and documents. Better than its predecessor, OneDrive offers new features, like improved video sharing and newly updated apps for Windows Phone, iOS, Android and Xbox.

“When someone picks up their phone, tablet or any other device, they just want all of their favorite photos and the documents they need at their fingertips -- they don’t want to have to hunt for them,” said Chris Jones, corporate vice president of OS Services at Microsoft. “That’s the lens we are taking with OneDrive. "We’re building it right into all of the latest Microsoft devices and services -- from Xbox to Windows Phone and Windows 8.1 to Office -- but we’re also making sure it’s available on the Web and across all other platforms including iOS and Android, so your photos, videos and files are all available anytime you need them.”

Giving Away the Cloud

According to a recent Microsoft-commissioned online study, at least 77 percent of cloud-familiar consumers have content stored on a device that is not backed up elsewhere, and 69 percent would rather lose the device itself than the content that’s stored on it. With OneDrive, Microsoft said people don’t have to make that choice. OneDrive offers 7 GB of free storage. That’s the equivalent of more than 7,000 photos.

One of the most interesting new features that OneDrive brings to the market is automatic camera backup for Android. The feature works to make it easier for customers to get their photos from their Android phones to their other devices -- and video transcoding -- making videos as easy to store, view and share as photos.

Beyond the free 7GB of storage, customers can purchase storage in 50GB, 100GB and 200GB increments. Current customers who refer friends can receive up to 5 GB of free storage (in 500MB increments) for each friend who accepts an invitation to OneDrive. What’s more, current customers will be able to use their existing SkyDrive credentials to access their files in OneDrive. Customers can also receive 3 GB of free storage by utilizing the camera backup feature. Finally, Microsoft is giving the first 100,000 customers who access their OneDrive account after the launch an additional 100 GB of complimentary storage for one year.

Cloud Storage Wars

We caught up with Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence, to get his take on OneDrive’s new look and how it will impact the cloud storage market. He told us cloud storage wars are great for consumers.

“The various services, Box, Google, Microsoft and DropBox, offer generally comparable plans with some pricing and storage limits differences. Consumers will thus likely be drawn to the company they have the most experience with or trust most,” Sterling said. “I don't think the rebranding itself matters much -- SkyDrive vs. OneDrive. What matters is whether Microsoft promotes OneDrive and explains its value to consumers.”