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April 23, 2008

Live Mesh Technology Preview Announced

Today Microsoft is unveiling a technology preview to a really neat new software+services platform called Live Mesh. Live Mesh is a brand new platform that helps your devices act together through the internet enabling users such as you and me to manage, access, and share their files and applications from nearly anywhere. By bringing user’s files, applications, and devices together along with the combination of social networking (such as with news feeds) – Live Mesh creates a unique platform experience.

First and foremost Live Mesh is a new platform.  The first phase of the technology preview process provides a foundational experience that exposes core concepts and functionality of the platform.  In the near future developers can expect to be able to take advantage of Live Mesh to extend their software to the Web, and their services to the desktop and devices.

Today’s technology preview is a pre-Beta release designed to get early feedback to make the platform even better.

I’ve been lucky to be given the chance to play with Live Mesh for the last couple weeks. I’ve had a great experience with Live Mesh so far and thought I’d share my experiences with you.

So the first thing I did was logged in to Live Mesh of course supports Windows Live ID. After logging in with my Windows Live ID – I am taken to the screen where I can add/remove devices to my “mesh”.

To set up folders to sync with my devices in my “mesh” I need to go to my Live Desktop. This is essentially your device in the cloud where I can manage all my Live Mesh Folders when I’m not in front of one of my usual PC or mobile. You create folders in your Live Desktop and choose which devices you want to sync them with (after you add them to your Live Mesh of course). You’ll notice I have three PCs added to my Live Mesh.

On my Live Desktop I have three folders I’ve created. The first Live Mesh Folder I created was the one you see here called “Mesh”. I use this folder to toss files that get synced to the Live Mesh cloud – and then synced to all my Live Mesh devices. You’ll notice that the Live Mesh folks have tried to present a familiar approach to file management. You can even drag the folder window to any place on your Live Desktop.

After creating a folder on my Live Desktop, I can choose to sync it with specific devices in my Live Mesh. I chose to sync with all devices. Because the Live Mesh client was installed on my PCs, the “Mesh” Live Mesh Folder automatically appeared on the desktop of all of those PCs I chose to sync with.

When I open the “Mesh” Live Mesh Folder on any of my Windows Vista PCs the standard Windows Explorer window opens but with a Live Mesh addition on the right-hand side. The Mesh Bar on the Windows Explorer window lets me access my Live Mesh information for that folder.

Each Live Mesh Folder has a News Feed where it displays a history of information like when files were added, when they were removed, as well as who added them and notes. This experience exists both on my Windows desktops as well as my Live Desktop.  

A Live Mesh client sits on my Windows PCs in the taskbar. I can use it to quickly access my Live Mesh “stuff” (Live Mesh Folders, devices and news).

I have three tabs that you can switch between my news feed for all my Live Mesh Folders, my Devices, and my news.

From the Devices tab, I can use Live Mesh Remote Desktop to easily access any of my PCs. Building on the awesome Windows Remote Desktop technologies – I can login to any of my PCs running Live Mesh. You’ll see that Live Mesh Remote Desktop also has a Mesh Bar.

I can also login to my PCs remotely using Live Mesh via the website as well.

I continue to use Live Mesh for syncing data and the overall all-out access to my information and devices. The above is just a quick overview of my experiences. To quickly recap – Live Mesh provides me with a way to manage and interact with all my data, devices and people.

You can read more about today’s Live Mesh Technology Preview announcement from Amit Mital who is the General Manager for Live Mesh on the Windows Live Dev Blog. Keep your eyes on the Live Mesh Blog as well. Noah Edelstein, Group Program Manager for Mesh Platform Experiences, has a in-depth post discussing Live Mesh and possibly answering your questions about Live Mesh – like why you should care about this platform experience.

Channel 10’s Nic Fillingham has a great hands-on video of Live Mesh worth checking out! Watch it here in Silverlight bliss:

Hands on with Live Mesh

I believe this is Nic’s first video since joining the Channel 10 Team. I look forward to seeing more from Nic in the future.

Oh and Jon Udell over on Channel 9 got a chance to sit down with Ray Ozzie to discuss his role as Chief Software Architect and discusses Microsoft’s overall software+services strategy.  

You can sign up to get an invite to test Live Mesh for yourself here by logging in with your Windows Live ID.