Having all your data wherever you go is useful beyond measure. A Web-based service and series of open APIs unveiled this week by Microsoft is intended to offer a solution to keeping all our devices in sync.
If I had a dollar for every time I accessed an Outlook contact, set a reminder with my desktop-synchronized Palm Treo (or heard Microsoft claim to know "the way"), I could solve world hunger.
With the official announcement on Wednesday of Live Mesh, Microsoft revealed its vision of an open Web service that would “connect and bring devices together,” according to Amit Mital, general manager of Live Mesh, who spoke at O’Reilly’s Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco this week. "The mesh" has been hinted about by Ray Ozzie and others for the last few weeks.
People (myself included) are skeptical about Microsoft’s willingness to offer a level playing field. In a BBC News report from the conference, several developers expressed concerns that Microsoft was just trying to “own the pie” and that the only thing available thus far is “demo ware and advertising.”
The platform will initially support XP and Vista, but later will accommodate Macs and mobile devices, Mital said, making no mention of Linux or Unix.
“Devices are how we interact in this new ‘web connected’ world, and we use a variety of them,” wrote Mital on Microsoft's Live Dev blog site earlier this week. He said those devices include PCs, laptops, media devices, phones, digital picture frames, game consoles, music players “and the list grows at every CES. However, as we discover, adopt and use more of these digital devices, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep the people, information and applications we depend on in sync.”
Keeping them all in sync will be Live Mesh, a series of Web services and APIs for storage, membership, sync, peer-to-peer communication and news feeds. In his extensive post, Mital claims the APIs will be consistent from desk to device and elsewhere. “The programming model is the same for the cloud and all connected devices, which means a Live Mesh application works exactly the same regardless of whether it’s running in the cloud, in a browser, on a desktop, or on a mobile device.”
Good luck with that one.