Just how sharp are computer science and engineering students these days? Look no further than the new SkyDrive app for Xbox Live, rolled out by Microsoft today. It was created from scratch by a team of six Microsoft interns, who were able to make a feature-complete version of the app over the summer.
Don’t worry, Xbox Live users: They got some help from Microsoft employees who took the project over the finish line after they went back to school.
But as self-contained and flexible project bridging two of Microsoft’s most high-profile consumer products, the SkyDrive app for Xbox Live was “a perfect fit for the interns,” said Dan Somrack, a Microsoft program manager who worked to finish the app. (Somrack, a recent Cornell University graduate, was himself a two-time Microsoft intern before joining the company as an employee, so he has an appreciation for these things based on a first-hand experience.)
The interns were from Harvard, Cornell, University of Virginia, Charlottesville; University of New York, Stony Brook; DigiPen Institute of Technology; and Olin College.
The SkyDrive service, which competes with similar file-sharing and storage apps, has taken on a larger role on Windows PCs with the launch of Windows 8, and also ties into Microsoft’s Windows Phone, in addition to apps for iPhone, Android and other platforms. The service stores pictures, video and other files in the cloud for collaboration and sharing across devices.
“We really wanted to have a showcase experience for photos and videos in the living room,” said Mike Torres, SkyDrive group program manager.
The app was created in the XAML and C# programming languages. The interns created the app in 12 weeks, including planning, design, prototypes, development and test. Microsoft employees then took over to polish the app, localize it to different markets and tune the performance.