Microsoft has decided that Windows Live Sync, its cloud-syncing service, will receive a name change-actually, make that a name reversion-to Windows Live Mesh. In addition, the service will now offer 5GB of free cloud-storage space, up from 2GB, and the ability to sync hidden files.
The company originally released the beta of Windows Live Sync in June, as a component of the larger Windows Live Essentials. A combination of Windows Live Sync and Windows Live Mesh, the application allows users to sync data between their various PCs via the cloud. But given some additional features due to roll out when the beta expires, Microsoft evidently felt a name change was in order.
"With the addition of remote access and cloud storage, we understand that the new program does more than sync files," Allison O'Mahony, principal program manager lead for Microsoft's Devices & Roaming unit, wrote in an Aug. 27 posting on The Windows Blog. "So following the beta period, we'll be using the name Windows Live Mesh going forward, which we feel best reflects our broader goal of allowing you to access your stuff across your devices."
Windows Live Mesh will permit 5GB of synced cloud storage, up from 2GB. "A number of customers have asked why we don't allow you to sync up to 25GB, given that 25GB is the SkyDrive limit," O'Mahony added. "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. This means that each system has different storage limits and is optimized for different scenarios."
Windows Live Mesh will also sync hidden files, and list which files are missing from a synced folder. Memory and CPU storage have supposedly been optimized during sync activity.
Despite its historical focus on desktop-based software, Microsoft has repeatedly stated its "all in" strategy for the cloud. In a March 4 speech at the University of Washington, and again at this summer's Worldwide Partner Conference, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer insisted that cloud services will occupy an ever-larger portion of the company's resources.
"There's no question that Microsoft has chosen to embrace that path together with all of you, and there's no question that there's more to do," Ballmer told the audience during his WPC keynote July 12.
Microsoft's cloud-based initiatives include Azure, its cloud-development platform. The company also intends to offer more cloud-based IT services to corporations, via projects such as "Dallas," which will supposedly pull together enterprise and cloud data in a way that allows for more informed business decisions. However, the cloud focus brings some management challenges for Microsoft.
"When customers put their data into our system," Ballmer said during his keynote, "when they entrust more and more of their data and operations to us, there's the need to do a better job on reliability, security, privacy."