Up until recently, SkyDrive and Live Sync (nee FolderShare) have been quite standalone offerings. You had a storage service, and a program that synchronised folders across machines. But they weren’t really integrated with each other – or indeed anything else.
Which made it all the more confusing that Microsoft was also offering Live Mesh – a synchronisation and storage platform. What was the deal? Why have both sets of services?
So when Microsoft rolled out the Wave 3 release of Windows Live, it was kind of surprising to see that they had rebranded and updated FolderShare as Live Sync – I think most people had assumed it was dead.
But what they’ve really done with this release is pulled everything together, and made the whole platform a lot more coherent (and I do mean everything; the new Windows Live is very impressive).
SkyDrive is the storage platform, with 25GB of storage, and is used by Photos and Spaces and Live (shared) Favourites via the new toolbar. It’s even making inroads into Live Messenger.
Sync is being used by Photo Gallery to keep galleries in sync across multiple machines, and the toolbar will (at some point) use sync to keep your private favourites in sync.
In other words, SkyDrive and Sync are not going away any time soon. They are clearly providing very valuable services to the Windows Live platform.
So what does that mean for Live Mesh?
James Senior has a nice post that answers this question.
And now that we’ve seen Sync and SkyDrive in context, it’s obvious where Live Mesh fits in – it’s an evolution of these services, taking their functionality apart and putting it back together in a way that is more than the sum of its parts.
It’s nice to know that Mesh has a home to go to, and it’ll be very interesting to see what Windows Live does with it.