I've gotten more than a few queries from Live Mesh beta users asking how much more time they had to use the Microsoft synchronization service before the plug was pulled.
Liveside.net has the answer: You have until March 31, 2011. Between now and then, no new Live Mesh beta testers are being accepted, and you can only share Live Mesh folders with those who already have Live Mesh installed. Starting March 31, users will no longer be able to sign into their Live Mesh betas on their PCs, Macs or the Web, Microsoft officials said.
Yes, Microsoft has released the "final" version of Live Mesh as part of its recent Windows Live Essentials 2011 service. But a number of the folks I'm hearing from don't like the changes Microsoft made to Live Mesh and preferred the beta feature set.
Back when Microsoft first outlined its goals for Live Mesh -- one of Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie's pet projects -- the product was very ambitious. There were supposed to be Live-Mesh-enabled applications and live activity streams (which ended up in Messenger and other Microsoft products). There was a new Mesh Framework, as well as both a cloud and a client software run-time Mesh Operating Environment (MOE).
Most importantly, to many Live Mesh testers, there was the option to sync not just your PCs, but your phones, using the Live Mesh beta. The just-released Live Mesh does not support mobile phones. And not even all of your PCs are supported with the final version of Live Mesh, as the final is available only for Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, and Mac OS X version 10.5 or later. There's no XP support.
Live Mesh ultimately became a mash-up between FolderShare (which was known as Windows Live Sync) and the PC-to-PC synchronization subset of the Live Mesh beta. Still useful for some, but nothing like the original product and vision.
As Liveside (and Microsoft) also reminded Windows Live users this week, the clock also is ticking for those who have created blogs on Windows Live Spaces. Microsoft is encouraging those users to migrate to WordPress or some other blog-hosting platform before they eliminate those blogs by March 16, 2011.