About two and a half years ago, maybe even three, I started using a free and beta service called Windows Live Mesh. At the time it was totally unrelated to any Windows Live services, and was in fact an incubation product and vision of Ray Ozzie, Chief Architect at Microsoft.
Live Mesh was a beautiful thing. You installed the client application on your Windows PC, Mac computer or Windows Mobile device and configured synchronised folders on each device. Live Mesh would then replicate the files from point to point using a peer-to-peer technology, but whilst also transferring copies of the first 5GB of data to the cloud in a page called the Live Mesh Desktop and the desktop was available from any internet enabled PC.
About three months ago, Microsoft as part of the Windows Live Essentials 2011 Beta 1 announced the closure of Windows Live Mesh and that a service which had been around but extremely under-used, Windows Live Sync was taking it’s place with new features. The primarily benefit of the Live Sync service instead was it included the syncing options for Internet Explorer favourites and also Outlook settings such as Signatures and Quick Steps.
Within a day or two I was used the Live Sync service and syncing all of the available applications and it was working great, however it was limited Ã¢â‚¬â€œ The web based portion of storage which although I rarely use, it a great feature was limited to 2GB although the SkyDrive account which powers it has a capacity of 25GB.
Yesterday, Microsoft announced that in future releases of the Windows Live Essentials 2011 suite, Windows Live Sync is going to be renamed back to Windows Live Mesh as due to expanding services, they are offering more than just syncing files which is true.
Along with this announcement, Microsoft have confirmed that the SkyDrive storage limit has been increased for the web portion of syncing to 5GB to match that previously offered by Live Mesh and they seem committed to allowing people to eventually use all 25GB of the SkyDrive capacity, however this could be sometime while other services are combined and brought together.
Lists which allows you to see which files are missing in each location will nw be available along with the ability to sync hidden files. Lastly, Microsoft claim to have improved the CPU and memory footprint of the application by reducing it by 30% while reducing the syncing and convergance time between sources.
The only thing that there is no mention of is mobile devices. Live Mesh had a Windows Mobile client allowing folder sync to the phone which was really powerful and useful, however this feature was lost in the transition to Live Sync, so I am wondering if as part of the Live Mesh re-branding the mobile device syncing will return?
I was highly sceptical in the early days of Live Sync Beta after the migration from Live Mesh, however the new features really grabbed me and I used them well. Now that the service is returning to it’s old faithful name of Live Mesh, I’m wondering what is going to be on the roadmap for the future, and I also wonder if this return to Live Mesh is fuelled by Ray Ozzie in the background himself not wanting to see his project Live Mesh destined for the scrapyard? The only downside is that we are going to have to wait until after this current Beta 2 phase before we see the changes and they are not releasing them off the bat.