Microsoft opens up on Live Mesh's future

Microsoft opens up on Live Mesh's future

Summary: Microsoft officials have posted a Live Mesh question-and-answer document to the Microsoft Web site that finally answers many of the questions about the much-ballyhooed Microsoft sync service customers have been asking for two years.

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Microsoft officials have posted a Live Mesh question-and-answer document to the Microsoft Web site that finally answers many of the questions about the much-ballyhooed Microsoft sync service customers have been asking for two years.

Update: Guess the Live Mesh team decided it was being a little too open... They pulled the Q&A. Luckily, LiveSide grabbed a full copy.

In 2008, Microsoft officials said they were working to integrate Live Mesh -- Microsoft's consumer-focused synchronization platform -- into Windows Live. After that, company officials wouldn't talk publicly about what was happening. (Some company officials, especially on the Entertainment & Devices side of the house, didn't actually seem to know.)

In February of this year, the LiveSide.net folks unearthed information indicating Live Mesh was still alive and going to be merged with the existing Windows Live Sync (a k a FolderShare) platform. Indeed, that's what has happened. Much of what was known as Live Mesh is being merged with the existing Windows Live Sync service and is going to be part of the next version of Windows Live Essentials, Microsoft's consumer services bundle which is expected to be released to the public for beta testing later in June.

The new Microsoft Q&A verifies LiveSide's story from earlier this year that Microsoft has decided to cut the amount of available storage for synchronized systems to 2GB. Microsoft is advising users who need more storage to save their files to SkyDrive and/or to sync their content between PCs instead of to the cloud. Microsoft's official answer as to why it cut the amount of storage is most people seemed to use less than 2 GB. The Q&A also says the team decided to go with 2 GB "to reach as many people as possible with a free service."

That seems to imply Microsoft will offer customers an option to buy more storage for Sync. The Q&A includes the question "Will I be able to purchase additional online storage for the new Sync?" but doesn't provide an answer.

Update No. 2: It looks like someone from Microsoft added the answer before they pulled the actual Q&A down. Here's the answer, as preserved by LiveSide: The ability to purchase more online storage "is something we would consider for a future release."

The Q&A also verifies another piece of information LiveSide noted earlier -- that Microsoft is not supporting mobile phones with the new Windows Live Sync. From the Q&A:

"With this release of Windows Live Sync, we focused on syncing folders between computers. In the future, we’ll explore adding support for other devices including mobile phones."

Two other features that were part of the Live Mesh beta -- Live Desktop and device view -- also are being eliminated/replaced with the new Windows Live Sync, according to the Q&A. The replacement for these services is the new devices.live.com service that is integrated with other Windows Live Services. Even though it's called device.live.com, for now, that service allows connection with and browsing of PCs only and not any other kind of devices.

The full Live Mesh Q&A is worth a read.

(Thanks to @robertmclaws for pointer to the new document.)

Topics: Hardware, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software, Storage, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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