Microsoft is taking another small step towards the dual-use, one-device-for-work-and-play future promised by new CEO Satya Nadella with the introduction of an updated Android app that lets you switch between your OneDrive and OneDrive for Business cloud storage accounts without having to tab out.
That's a first for any Microsoft app on any device platform.
If it's one small step for Microsoft, it's one giant leap for identity in an increasingly consumerized IT world: Microsoft is pushing for a world where you bring your files and folders with you everywhere, with frictionless sharing between devices and services.
The way it works is pretty simple, too: Tab out far enough and you get to choose your account -- personal or work -- synced with your cloud storage everywhere else. Previously, there were separate apps, meaning users had to be aware of which app had which files. Now, everything's all in the same place.
“We really want to make it super easy for users to not to have to think too hard,” says Michal Gideoni, Director of Product Management for Microsoft Office.
There's a pretty big caveat: Right now, this only works with files stored in Microsoft's public cloud services, which means you're out of luck if you're using OneDrive for Business in conjunction with SharePoint 2013 on-premises like many of Microsoft's customers. While Gideoni acknowledged that the product is still developing, she declined to comment on the product roadmap for OneDrive for Business.
Also, introducing support for both work and personal accounts to a cloud storage app is not a new idea: Dropbox added support for the same across desktop and mobile earlier this year. But consider that at least for now, Microsoft's range of services extend to just about every device out there in one way or another, making identity a hard but necessary problem to solve as the company extends to become a platform.
Microsoft is also rolling out two new OneDrive feature updates today to the apps on other platforms. The iOS app gets a search bar and an All Photos view, while Windows Phone users get to see their OneDrive recycling bin.
Microsoft does confirm that the multi-identity approach is coming to OneDrive on every platform as soon as they can get it running, with more news on the dual-use front coming similarly as fast as the company can get it out.