Live Mesh: It's alive!

Summary:Just when I was about to give up hope and add Live Mesh to my Microsoft deadpool, look what surfaced over on Liveside.Net. On February 22, LiveSide posted a bunch of new screen shots (via CNbeta.com) and information about some of the long-awaited Windows Live Wave 4 services, including Live Mesh.

One of the questions about Microsoft I get most often is whatever happened to Live Mesh.

Yes, it's still in beta. But no one talks about it any more. Are more updates coming? Is it being supplanted by other technology? I've tried asking quite a few Softies -- even Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie, who made Live Mesh his pet project -- to no avail.

But just when I was about to give up hope and add Live Mesh to my Microsoft deadpool, look what surfaced over on LiveSide.Net. On February 22, LiveSide posted a bunch of new screen shots (via CNbeta.com) and information about some of the long-awaited Windows Live Wave 4 services. Live Mesh -- which may be renamed officially to Windows Live Sync, according to Liveside's information -- is what I found most interesting.

Microsoft has a LOT of different synchronization platforms across the company. But Live Mesh, as it originally was outlined by company officials back in 2008, was designed to help synchronize information across PCs and devices.

LiveSide's new information indicates that the current Live Sync (the product formerly known as FolderShare) is going to be replaced by Live Mesh, a k a the new Windows Live Sync. (Yeah, naming complexity continues to plague the Windows Live team.... ) The old Live Sync could handle P2P sync only and didn't support Live Desktop/cloud storage, so it needed to go.

But there's other information indicating that Microsoft might integrate the new Live Sync with the old Live Sync (according to a Most Valuable Professional posting in a Microsoft forum). So maybe the two Live Syncs will become one?

In either case, here's how Live Mesh is going to work once it's delivered as part of the Windows Live Wave 4 family, according to LiveSide:

"Windows Live Sync has gotten a complete revamp, pretty much dumping the old FolderShare interface and becomes a new (and possibly the most important) piece of software in itself. As the client-side for Windows Live Devices, Sync will allow you to synchroni(z)e files between devices and SkyDrive, as well as providing remote access to your PCs over the internet. Perhaps the most interesting piece of news is that Windows Live Sync will also support synchronisation of your program settings ... allowing you to synchroni(z)e your Internet Explorer settings between two or more computers."

Windows Live Wave 4 is the next refresh of the various consumer-focused services that Microsoft delivers as an adjunct to Windows (Messenger, Hotmail, Photo Gallery, Writer, Movie Maker, etc.). Microsoft started rolling out Wave 3 of Windows Live in November 2008. Public beta of Wave 4 may happen this spring, based on the latest rumors, but given how many times I've heard Wave 4 is "just around the corner," we'll see....

I have a lot of questions about the new Windows Live Sync, including how/if it will  sync with Windows Phone 7 Series devices, Zune HDs (current and future), the "Dorado" Zune software platform and more.... What else are you curious about, re: Live Mesh?

Topics: Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

About

Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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