Gillmor: Why Google should worry about Live Mesh

Gillmor: Why Google should worry about Live Mesh

Summary: Steve Gillmor has a great post up that identifies why Google should be really worried about Microsoft's Live Mesh. Mesh is so much more than file synchronization: it's a bridge for transitioning to the cloud.


Steve Gillmor has a great post up on TechCrunch that identifies why Google should be really worried about Microsoft's Live Mesh. Most commentators have focused on the file synchronization capabilities but Steve puts his finger on why Mesh is so much more than that:

Looking at Mesh as a data synchronization transport ignores its abilities to virtualize identity, permissions, information aggregation, realtime feedback loops, and other SocMedBS attributes that define the substructure of, for example, a Twitter-Mesh-Silverlight gateway to compete with GTalk/Twitter etc.

Imagine (not for long will it be ephemeral) an information bus that orchestrates the signaling of text, rich media, calendar, communications, transaction, and group location status under a social graph umbrella based in part on user-controlled behavior aggregation (gestures). Now imagine what Google needs to do to match this architecture and its overwhelming lead in connectors to existing hardware via Windows.

Other commentators have dismissed Mesh as simply a mechanism to protect Microsoft's desktop-bound assets, but Steve turns that around and points out that what Mesh is really about is connecting the desktop into the cloud (Meshing the desktop into the cloud, as I wrote last Thursday).

Call it self-serving if you like, but Microsoft needs a bridge that will carry its existing market presence over into the cloud and Mesh is that bridge. You could equally call it customer-friendly: Microsoft users will likely be pleased to have a mechanism that helps them make that transition without orphaning their desktop and on-premise IT assets.

Topics: Microsoft, CXO, Enterprise Software, Google, Hardware

Phil Wainewright

About Phil Wainewright

Since 1998, Phil Wainewright has been a thought leader in cloud computing as a blogger, analyst and consultant.

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  • Oh yeah, I can just see the data breaches...

    in the cloud. :)
  • RE: Gillmor: Why Google should worry about Live Mesh

    It all depends on the security of personal information, doesn't it? That will decide who dominates the market, not the feature set. And for that matter, it will require a lot more interoperability than Microsoft has been willing to provide (see EU anti-trust suit, OOXML, etc.)
  • Message has been deleted.

  • RE: Gillmor: Why Google should worry about Live Mesh

    When AOL destroyed its own brand, nobody visited their site.

    Microsoft's Vista was not just a failure, it is the most collosal failure in the history of the software industry. Combined with proprietary trap marketing strategy, I don't care what Microsoft develops. Their brand is dead.

    I don't think Google has anything to be worried about except their own potential vulnerabilities to the "We're #1 and you aren't" sickness, which invariably destroys industry leaders from IBM to MCI.

    Forget about Microsoft until standards are a part of their product strategy. Bye bye Microsoft.
    • If Vista is a collosal failure, I'll take some of that

      Vista makes Microsoft what, $6 billion/year. I would love that kind of failure. So which OS sells more/makes more $$$? Linux, LOL? Mac? Not in their wildest dreams.

      Microsoft is as dead as GE, or Boeing, or HP.

      And as far as standards go, Mesh has them up the wazoo--feeds via APP for all of your data. What else you use is up to you.

      • Vista is a collosal failure...

        That particular brand, like it or not, is dead. It was DOA due to various bits of marketing stupidity that Microsoft was warned about in house, under delivering on promised features, too many versions, buggy as hell and just, again, like it or not, a very bad smell.

        I'm not arguing if it's deserved or not. It just is.

        Microsoft isn't going anywhere, as you say. Mesh, in spite of Gillmore's rather breathless endorsement is still largely vapour and contrary to what he implies Google isn't exactly asleep at the switch.

        It's going to be one interesting ride.



        PS An endorsement from a Hollywood/RIAA/MPAA insider isn't the sort of thing that gives me warm and fuzzies.
      • If Vista is a collosal failure, I'll take some of that

        its so successful that they announce:
        a. Windows 7 will be out next year
        b. XP will have its life extended,
        c. Ballmer is forced to publicly admit Visa is a 'work in progress'"
        d. Dell et al are forced to re-introduce XP to their catalogue.

        Really have to be 'innovative' to overcome this screw-up, how about the brand new ideas of table top computers, or even mesh computers.

        My view - the income of a company that has a virtual monopoly is a real measure of their product. Sure.
    • Save Bandwidth : Stop discussing Microsoft

      That name STINKS now
      Web Smart
  • I agree - the companies that blend will see

    a better result. Especially the ones that require a disconnected view. It will be fun to see what happens.
  • Unwarranted extrapolation

    Gillmor is really reaching with his vision of what LiveMesh is meant to accomplish. So far, it seems to be little more than a file synchronisation technology between devices and the cloud. That's probably useful, but seeing it as the foundation for some great new collaboration infrastructure is somewhat premature.
    Jason Etheridge
    • Wow, and the Web is just static text pages

      File synchronization is just 5% of Mesh. Mesh is a platform. You can have applications that span all your devices also. You can let folks see any or all of your data. You can access your data from not only your devices but from a Web browser. Users, data, applications, devices. All are managed through the Mesh.

    • ...and the difference between MESH & Groove is...?

      ...and the difference between MESH as a "a file synchronisation technology between devices and the cloud" and Groove is...?
      David Gale
  • RE: Gillmor: Why Google should worry about Live Mesh

    I think the folks who don't see that Microsoft is taking the online/offline connection seriously--and that they are releasing excellent free s/w (Live Writer, for example) are in for a very big surprise.
    They may take along time to get things right, but in the end, they do mostly get it right.
    Newt Barrett
  • RE: Gillmor: Why Google should worry about Live Mesh

    I don't know the specific details, but if Microsoft's security track record isn't good. I don't know if I can trust my info and data on their online storage system.

    The idea is good, but another problem is hardware support:
    How many devices and features will be supported? Each company has their own way of storing info. Just supporting the transfer of contacts from one phone to another might be a problem. I'm guessing they'll only be supporting some current and future phones. There'll probably be a Live Mesh support logo created for supported devices.

    Then there's midi and mp3 ringtones and music - they'll have to deal with DRM issues designed into each device.

    Will there be DRM included in Live Mesh software, as well?

    And then there's the very limited support media players have with playing WMV files. Will it support any other file formats? Sounds like another push for Silverlight's distribution method.
    Rude Union
    • Is Live Mesh an enabler?

      Now that I think of it, it sounds more like the next step is a push against iTunes. When they have the groundwork done tying in a store would be a snap. Just think of it, you have all your devices online:

      - you can by an Xbox game and get it sent to the unit
      - you can by a song and have it sent to your Zune (if anyone actually bought one)
      - you can sync your e-mail and files to your cell phone

      All of this while sitting at your PC.
      Rude Union
  • Google Just Doesn't Worry

    As I've said before commenting on other Blogs, Google always has as ace up its sleeve. Google Documents is one of those, but we all know about that, right? Now, I admit that I'm making this up, but I believe that Google is developing Google Documents in Ajax just until it switches to something more serious. Check out Google's work in Flash in Google Analytics, or the Google owned SearchMash (they have a beautiful Flash UI). And when that happens, and its nice, and you can work offline with no problem (Google has an API for this), you're not going to miss your Desktop that much.

    Personally, I think Microsoft needs something else to stand on aside from, "they're already used to their current desktop." Users have gotten and will get used to other technologies. And in fact, once their other desktop is a Mac or Linux or a friend's PC, they'll become more and more comfortable with the Cloud holding the UI.

    Private SAT tutoring on DVD
  • RE: Gillmor: Why Google should worry about Live Mesh

    I still beleive that online applications is all about nothing. So far no one can show that using online applications, blogs, online storage etc is secure and I for one have little faith in either Google or MS when it comes to that and trust.
    • That's why no bank uses the Web

      Oh wait, they all do. Of course security is a top concern. It should be whether you use Microsoft, Google, or the local bank's online system.

      If you are so concerned about putting your data online, encrypt it. There is nothing preventing you from doing so.

  • Got Mesh?

    With the ultra portable PCs, Blackberries, Palms, desktops and laptops out there and the fact that some of us use more than one (not to menion our personal home laptops and PCs), being tied to the desktop seems rather last-century. Even thumb-drives are a hassle and I find I am going to google-docs more and more.

    Also look at the user base for Apple, Linux/Ubuntu, etc. and how a Microsoft-centric solution bypasses them, it is hard to get too excited about Mesh.
  • RE: Gillmor: Why Google should worry about Live Mesh

    If what they are tryinhg to do is a dyncmaically constructable virtual VPN which allows you to make your collection of machines a virtual cluster, then this could be very useful. If all it is is sync, then who cares. They can't even make Win Mobile 6 sync with Win Vista when you wirre the two devices together.

    Of course, it is unlikely that MS will allow me to truly cluster my Vista, Win Mobile, Linux, Palm, Solaris, OS X, iXXX, RIM and other machines, along with the SaaS services to which I might subscribe all into one functioning unit. If they restrict it to only MS products, it is only fully useful to that rapidly shrinking portion of the populace which only owns a small number of devices, and they typically aren't the people who will really care about this kind of capability anyway.