Windows Live Mesh is one of those things, kind of like Lotus Notes, that defies description. It does many things, yet there is no one good description of the application. Mesh is many things. It is cloud based storage. Microsoft gives you five gigabytes of storage for free. You have a ‘desktop’ that sits in the ‘cloud’ (I really don’t like that term, but I don’t have anything better.) Your ‘cloudtop’ is available from just about anywhere where you can use a browser. You can create folders here and move files to the cloud. If you sync those folders with folders on the computers in your ‘ring’, then the files are pushed out to all of them as well. Likewise, your contacts, calendar information and email can all be pushed to the members of your ring.
You can access your ring via a small application that, currently, only works with Windows. A Mac OS client is on the way and there is a Windows Mobile client in beta. I believe there is also some iPhone compatibility there, but that is probably via the browser. The Windows client has the added ability of remote desktop. This is, I think, where it shines. All Windows computers in your ring make their status available. I can, from my laptop, get on the Internet and check the status of my computers at home or where ever they are, very cool. I can also take them over. What ever computer I am using can become the screen, mouse and keyboard of any computer in my ring. I’d love for this to work on my Moto Q smartphone as well. VNC can do it, Microsoft should be able to as well. Performance is pretty slow, but f or things you’d need to do, it is acceptable. I would not want to spend hours using it this way, but is good for grabbing a file or two, checking email that you otherwise would not be to do or whatever.
Your Mesh is governed by Windows Live ID. You need a Windows Live ID to do anything with the cloudtop, access your devices, etc. Not a problem, Live ID is free, as is Mesh. I guess at somepoint, Microsoft will offer a paid service, probably once the beta period is done. There is also an SDK available for developers. I have not yet seen this, but I intend to do so. I can see lots of possibilities here. ‘Mesh-enabled’ applications will have the ability to save data not only to your cloudtop, but, I imagine, your other devices as well.
I hope Microsoft fully bakes this product. It has lots of potential and could even make MobileME look weak. I’ve already discovered several uses for it (my favorite is to barge in on my kid’s computer, while he is using it…see the fun there?) I also hope that Microsoft actually promotes this and not let it just sit there, hoping people will find it-much like the rest of the ‘Live’ product suite has.
Find out more here.