Microsoft Demos Live Mesh

At the Web 2.0 Expo, the company unveils its new software-plus-service platform.

SAN FRANCISCO-Microsoft formally introduced and demonstrated its new synchronization framework, Live Mesh, at the Web 2.0 Expo here April 23.

In a brief keynote address, Amit Mital, Microsoft's general manager of Live Mesh, gave a quick demonstration and played a video showing the Live Mesh technology at work, prompting applause from the crowd.

"With Live Mesh, all your devices work together, your data and apps are always available, your people are a click away, and you're always up to date," Mital said.

Essentially, Live Mesh is Microsoft's software-plus-services platform to enable users to sync their PCs and devices so that they are up to date with everything else in an individual's "device mesh."

"Live Mesh addresses a set of challenges we all face in our daily lives," he said. "We live in the world of the Web, where the Web is the center of all things that we do, and the way we connect with the Web is through devices."

Joe Wilcox writes why Live Mesh can save Microsoft. Read his blog.

Mital said that when he gets a new device, his life becomes more difficult because he's had to become an IT administrator of sorts. With that in mind, "two years ago we created a new team to look at the scenario." Mital said.

He said each device they looked at "was internet-connected at birth, but not to each other. ... So we thought about unified device management and unified data management, as well as the same for feed-unified feed sync and unified file sync," he said. "And what is critical for us is we made this drop-dead simple. Live Mesh is a software-plus-services platform that enables your PC and other devices to come alive and be aware of each other."

Mital played a video clip showing a mom taking a photo of a kid jumping into the water for a swim. As she takes the photo on her phone, it automatically syncs and appears on a remote PC, on a digital picture frame, on her husband's screen as he waits for a flight at the airport and other places. The polished video prompted at least one observer within earshot of this reporter to utter, "Fantastic," although overall applause for the announcement was somewhat cautious.

"Live Mesh provides an it-just-works experience that puts you at the center," Mital said.

Prior to Mital's talk, Tim O'Reilly, founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media, jokingly chided Microsoft about Live Mesh, saying, "IT supports Windows devices only, so they don't get it."

However, Mital said that although Live Mesh currently only works on Windows PCs, later it will support Macs and other devices.

Is Live Mesh a developer's dream? Read more here.

The introduction of Live Mesh, he said, is "just the tip of the iceberg" because, as a platform company, Microsoft's goal is to empower others to build on top of its platform.

"We are a platform team and a platform company," he said. "We want to make it easy for developers to create compelling applications."

The Live Mesh platform provides open access to its underlying data model and APIs, according to Mital.

"As a developer, I can choose the wire format to interact with Live Mesh," he said. "We want to enable an environment where anybody can interact with Live Mesh."