Boy, What a Mesh

Ray Ozzie's mesh talk leaves some observers confused as to Microsoft's strategy.

Boy, what a mesh.

Ray Ozzie, Microsoft's chief software architect, dropped in to keynote the company's MIX 08 conference March 5 in Las Vegas and left many in the crowd a bit perplexed by the message he delivered.

Some said they felt that he said absolutely nothing new; others said they took insight from hidden meaning in Ozzie's words and phrasing. And word has it that Ozzie had folks from his inner circle on hand to "translate" what he was saying. I didn't get the luxury of a translator. What I took away was the concept of a mesh.

Ozzie said developers and designers need "to think of the Web as a hub; the hub of our social experiences, our social mesh, the hub of our technology experiences, our device mesh. Related to the social mesh, we believe that the interpersonal nature of the Web will ultimately impact everything we do, including the personal aspect of the PC, in scenarios ranging from productivity to media and entertainment; all applications-ours and yours-and will incorporate the group-forming aspect of the Web. Linking, sharing, ranking, tagging on the Web will become as familiar to all of us as file, edit, and view on the PC."

Meanwhile, "related to the device mesh, this first principle also recognizes that we're living in a world where the number [of] and diversity of devices is on the rise," from phones and PCs to smart TVs, DVRs, media centers, game consoles, digital picture frames, pocket media players, digital cameras, camcorders and more, he said.

Having so many of these new devices Internet-aware "gives us the unique opportunity to use the magic of software to bring them all together into your own personal device mesh with the Web as a hub," Ozzie said. "Just imagine, if you will, that unified device management will enable your devices to report into a common service for status, for help, to report their location."

Indeed, just imagine.

"Just imagine the possibilities of unified application management across the device mesh, centralized, Web-based deployment of device-based applications," he said. "Imagine an app platform that's cognizant of all of your devices. Now, as it so happens, we've had a team at Microsoft working on this specific scenario for some time now, starting with the PC and focused on the question of how we might make life so much easier for individuals if we just brought together all your PCs into a seamless mesh, for users, for developers, using the Web as a hub."

He then said people will soon have the opportunity to try an early technology preview of a new software and service that would enable some of these capabilities.

But I'm still back at the mesh.