updated 09:00 am EDT, Wed April 23, 2008
Microsoft Live Mesh
Microsoft today unveiled what it says is a solution to keeping information in sync across not just multiple computers, but handhelds as well. Live Mesh is a platform similar to but expanded on Apple's .Mac that creates both a 5GB personal storage space and also tracks all the associated devices. Users can upload files, folders, and sometimes programs to their Mesh either as shared or private content that can be swapped between devices; actions performed in the Mesh are in turn pushed as news items that can be shared with others. As with an RSS feed, users can let friends know when vacation photos are posted or collaborate on projects, including through live chat with others viewing the same folder.
The service debuts today as a technology preview and is initially targeted at Windows computers, where users are required to download software to create a Live Desktop and share files. Microsoft explains, however, that it plans to expand Live Mesh to Mac OS X systems in coming months and will also bring the service to cellphones and similar devices; users could ultimately sync media captured from a phone or transfer music and playlists even if the device isn't physically present. The platform is open and extensible, so users won't be tied to a particular operating system or software suite, the company says.
Microsoft's new technology is currently free but requires a Windows Live ID; the company hasn't said whether it expects Live Mesh to offer a paid component.