Today almost everyone have more than one computer; one at work, a few at home, a media center, a PC, a Mac etc, your family members, friends and colleagues have the same. One problem is that a lot of us need access to files on one machine when we are using one of the others. For example I want to access my images when I’m at work sometimes and I do not want to copy all of these images onto my work laptop, when I’m at home I want to have the same favorites and documents that I use at work and so on. Then I have another scenario, let’s say that I do not have any of my computers with me and I want to access one of my files, then I want to have some way to access the files using a standard browser - and why not have editing possibilities.
There are several ways to accomplish this, but none (that I discovered) covers all of these scenarios. Today I use a mix of services from Microsoft (there are other vendors with similar services, but none as good IMHO); Live Mesh, Office Live Workspaces, Live Skydrive and Live Sync. Read my previous post which compares some of these features.
Live Mesh synchronizes folders between my machines as well as keeps a copy of it in the cloud. Live Sync synchronizes between the machines only. Office Live Workspaces allows me to store, share and access Office documents, lists and calendars in the cloud. Skydrive is currently a backup repository in the cloud. This pretty much covers it all, but has a few problems:
- I need to have several applications/services installed
- I need to go to different web sites to configure or access files
- They all use different storage mechanisms
- The synchronization (Mesh, Live Sync) always make a bi-directional synchronization
Why not take these services and make one über-Mesh and add some additional features. Take the Live Mesh application and add this features then you would have a synchronization service that would take the world with storm.
Modify Live Mesh in the following ways
- Merge the Skydrive storage with the Mesh storage - then we will go from 5Gb to 25Gb online storage
- Allow the Mesh folders to synchronize only between the computers and not the cloud, like Live Sync. I do not need all my files available in the cloud. For example I use Mesh to have some applications synched across my machines, just like Andrew Connell does.
- Allow you to set how the files will be synchronized; one-way or bi-directional. For example I only want my images taken with my mobile phone to be copied to the mesh, not to synchronize all images with the phone. This should be a setting per device and folder
- Today in Live Mesh you can only add top-folders, it would be awesome if you could make your own folder structure and set the synchronization options per folder
- Integrate the Office Live Workspaces folders into the Live Mesh
- Integrate the upcoming Office Live Applications into the Live Mesh, the opportunity to edit my Office documents using a browser only would really rock
- Have a REST based API to the Live Mesh - then all vendors could Meshify their applications
- Make the Live Mesh WebDAV compliant, then I could use any Office application from anywhere and edit my documents directly in the Mesh, without having to synchronize the folders
- Keep the Live Mesh RDP access
- Keep the Live Sync remote folder access
- Keep the Live Sync file size limit, Skydrive does not allow upload of large files
Anything else you would like to have?
Of course I realize, and don’t mind, that some of these services should have some fee; for example the Office Live Applications integration could have some fee and extra storage space (25Gb is not that much in these days) should also cost.
I’ve even tried the Live Mesh CTP version, which have support for custom applications - which looks awesome, throw that into the wish-list also.
So, Microsoft Program Managers hear me! Now when Ray Ozzie is in partial command in Redmond I think this should have a high priority (anyone remember Groove?)
I do not think I am the only one out here that would just love to see this happen.