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Live Mesh - Microsoft's next killer app?

by Parm Mann on 14 April 2008, 09:39

Tags: Live Mesh, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

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The future of synchronised storage?

The name of Microsoft's forthcoming software project, Live Mesh, has been making its way around the interweb for the best part of a year now and has generated a fair amount of interest.

However, only recently has Microsoft shed some light on what the project entails. Judging by its name, web readers had already assumed that Live Mesh would be a product that allows users to synchronise files across a network, or mesh, of devices.

At Microsoft's Mix '08 conference, held in March, chief software architect Ray Ozzie said:

"Just imagine the possibilities of unified application management across the device mesh, centralised, Web-based deployment of device-based applications. Imagine an app platform that's cognisant of all of your devices. Now, as it so happens, we've had a team at Microsoft working on this specific scenario for some time, starting with the PC and focused on the question of how we might make life so much easier for individuals if we just brought together all your PCs into a seamless mesh, for users, for developers, using the Web as a hub."

Following on from that tantalising taster, it has now been revealed that Microsoft's general manager of Live Mesh, Amit Mital, will officially unveil Live Mesh during a keynote at the Web 2.0 Expo on April 23rd entitled "Get Mesh!".

According to sources close to Microsoft, the software giant will be making available a private beta test to a select group by the end of this month. Microsoft itself hasn't confirmed any such plans.

Microsoft currently offers a similar cloud-sync solution in the form of its Windows Live FolderShare, which after long periods of inactivity received a significant update in early March. It isn't yet clear how FolderShare may or may not co-exist with Live Mesh, but cloud computing is undoubtedly of key importance to Microsoft.

Having tried a fair few solutions to keep my own desktop PC and laptop in sync, I've often failed to find something user friendly and easy to use. Could Microsoft's Live Mesh be the killer synchronisation product? We'll find out later this month.

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Mesh networks really should do to conventional network paradigms, what packet switching did to circuit switching.

The really impressive thing is how easy the API for the p2p mesh network is. I've been using it on a couple of production apps for the last few months now, its really very simple and robust.