Microsoft has renamed Windows Live Sync to Windows Live Mesh. Redmond often rebrands its Windows Live products, but there's more than a simple name change to today's announcement.
Windows Live Mesh will support syncing hidden files and will show a list of files that might be missing in a synced folder. Complaints that 2GB is an insufficient amount of storage have resulted in 5GB becoming the cloud storage limit again. Microsoft has also been working on cutting the application load time in half, speeding up syncing large numbers of folders or adding multiple devices to a sync folder, and optimizing memory and CPU usage during sync activity as well as when idle.
Windows Live Mesh has had two previous names. Microsoft bought FolderShare from ByteTaxi in November 2005 and released it in March 2008, renaming it to Windows Live Sync in December 2008. The "Windows" moniker isn't the best, since Sync (as well as Microsoft's other online services) is available for the Mac.
These name changes remind us that Microsoft's syncing/storage strategy is a mess. When the Windows Live Wave 4 beta arrived two months ago, we were happy that Windows Live Sync and Live Mesh were being merged. Microsoft would finally be offering just one product (Sync/Mesh) and just one service (SkyDrive, for uploading photos, files, and documents for sharing) that would happily work together, right? Wrong.
Although SkyDrive is integrated better than it was previously, users still don't have access to its entire 25GB for sync (remember, Microsoft just went from 5GB, to 2GB, and back to 5GB).
"While we merged Sync and Live Mesh in this release, we did not merge the online storage system used for Live Mesh with the one used for Office or Photos on SkyDrive," explains Microsoft. "This means that each system has different storage limits and is optimized for different scenarios." Maybe the merge will be complete by Wave 5?
Microsoft should have its syncing/storage strategy ready for this year's Windows Phone 7 release, but it won't. Windows Live Mesh will not support mobile phones when it's released. This would be tolerable if the original Live Mesh didn't support syncing between PCs and devices, but it did. With Wave 4, though, Microsoft eliminated mobile support and won't say when it's coming back.
Currently we have 25GB of space for SkyDrive, an infinite amount for Hotmail, 200MB for MyPhone, and so on. Why not offer 100GB on SkyDrive and make it accessible via all of Microsoft's products and services? That's so simple it just might work.