With your photos stored and arranged in Windows Live SkyDrive the next step is to share your memories and treasures. SkyDrive is not al all like so many other photo sharing sites that are the equivalent of galleries or museums for visitors from far and wide. For example, Flickr lets you explore photos from artists around the world. While flickr.com/ludwigkeck gets you to my photos on Flickr, there is no equivalent address for SkyDrive. SkyDrive is a very private place, there is no easily memorized address to your gallery. You can specify who can see your photos in great detail, yet sharing requires action on your part. You must invite your friends to come and see your photos.
Sharing: Send a link
You do this for albums, not individual photos. In your album view there is a Sharing section in the information pane on the right. It shows who the album is shared with, in the illustration here that is Everyone (public). There are three links for initiating sharing: Get a link, Send a link, and Embed.
Just enter one or more email addresses in the To: field and any optional message you like, click Send and SkyDrive sends the email. What do your friends see? They receive an email that looks like this:
The email your friends receive identifies you and the album you are sharing. It includes the message that you specified. There is a thumbnail of your “cover” photo and a link “View album”.
Actually the thumbnail also provides the same link. When the link is clicked a window opens that takes your recipient right to your album. Of course, it has to download the images, so it takes just a bit of time. Here are illustrations of that process:
This is really Windows Live Photo Gallery displaying the photos. Your friend can step through the photos, select from the thumbnail bar at the bottom just the photo to display, or choose one of the options on the top menu bar:
Full screen, of course, provides a screen-filling view of your photos. Thumbnail view is a gorgeous display of the thumbnails over a darkened image of the photo being shown.
Now how does a recipient see the album if he or she does not have Windows Live Photo Gallery installed? The link in the email will take them to the album using the default browser.
This looks just as it does when you are signed in to your Windows Live account except that the visitor does not have links for making changes to the album or SkyDrive.
Sharing: Get a link
The Get a link command opens a page that displays a text box with an URL. The message says: Copy this link to share. You can click the word Copy or click in the text box and press Ctrl+C. The link is placed on your clipboard and you can then paste it into an email. The URL is way to long to copy by hand.
This link takes the recipient to the album in a browser.
The third sharing option is Embed. This also takes you to a page with the information. In this case the text box contains HTML code. The headline says “Embed … in a blog or other webpage”. Unfortunately the code specifies an “iframe”. This code style is not recommended, and in fact not allowed on some blog sites. For example, if uploaded to a WordPress.com blog, the code will get stripped out. So for many, this code is next to useless. My recommendation is to not use this.
When you give someone access to one of your SkyDrive albums, you are in effect giving them access to all your public folders and other folders shared at the same sharing level. That little arrow in a circle in the upper left of your photo presentation allows your visitor to go to album view. The path to the album is shown and allows the visitor to click on any path item. And hence to any other public folder. Obviously public folders are there for visitors, but do keep this in mind.
More download options
In “SkyDrive view” when viewing a photo, the information pane shows a Download link. This link initiates a download of the photo. The download is done to the folder where downloads are normally stored.
The link “Download with Photo Gallery”, works as described above, allowing your email recipient to select which photos to download. The Download link runs the normal file downloader. See the illustration here.
Note that the album will be downloaded as a compressed ZIP file. If there are any sub-albums in the album, they will be included in the zip file.
Your friends can enjoy your photos as long as they keep your notification email. SkyDrive is not like a public gallery, more like an attic in your house and your guests are not totally free to come and go. That is the nature of SkyDrive.
© 2011 Ludwig Keck