In late October, about Microsoft PDC time, Live Mesh went from "Preview" To "Beta". Apart from adding a word to the logo it's also meant a bunch of new & improved features. I've put full details in the extended post but of most interest are Mesh is now worldwide, for PC, and a limited release of Mac & Windows Mobile clients. The vision of Mesh is your data being available on whatever hardware you have so it's good to see new platforms being added.
Mesh Beta also has better conflict resolution if a file has changed in several devices. This was weak in the preview so it's good to see it improved. After a couple of weeks with the Beta I've found it's working well. If you want to try Live Mesh there are also new "Getting Started Tips" to ease you into it.
Windows Live Mesh - www.mesh.com
Microsoft Windows Live Mesh Beta
· New devices supported. We are delighted to release our client software for Mac OS X (10.5.1 or higher) and Windows Mobile (6.0 and 6.1). Because these are both significant new software investments for us, we’re going to only provide them on a limited basis for now (and mobile is restricted to only US or UK to start.) If you get a message saying that we’re at full capacity for these clients, keep an eye on the blog here. We’ll post updates as we increase availability over the coming months.
· Worldwide availability. We’ve removed the limits on what countries are able to sign up to use Live Mesh. We previously had limitations in place so that we could complete our testing with various language and locale settings, and now that work is indeed complete (with the caveat of course that for now the mobile client, as mentioned above, is not actually available worldwide).
· WAP access. Some of you already discovered that browsing http://m.mesh.com from your WAP-enabled phone gives you a lightweight way to view Mesh content (and, on phones that support it, upload new files.) We’re now making WAP an officially supported feature.
· Folder roles/permissions. Members of a folder can now be assigned one of the following roles to control their access rights: creator, owner, contributor, and reader. Previously, the only permission level (aka “role”) you could set for a member was “owner,” which meant that all members had the same control over the contents of a folder (adding, changing, deleting) as you did. Now, you can assign specific permissions for each member in a Live Mesh folder. Want members to be able to read what’s in a folder, but not change any content? Make them readers. Want them to be able to add to the folder, but not invite other users? Make them contributors.
· Automatic update is now available for the Live Mesh software. This has been a common user request, and we’re taking a first step towards making it possible for your Mesh client software to update itself automatically, without you having to click on any links. In this Beta release, automatic update works like magic if you chose not to install the extra enhancements that required administrator rights. If you did install them, we still have to prompt you to update so that you can click through the UAC elevation prompt and give us permission to update administrative components. We will continue to work on streamlining this process for you in future releases.
· P2P sync can be managed from your computer. When we first enabled P2P sync, you had to go to the Live Desktop to change the sync settings for a folder so that it would no longer synchronise with your Live Desktop and eat up your 5 GB storage limit. We heard from many customers that this was not very intuitive (and we agree: it wasn’t). Now you can change this sync setting from the Live Mesh software on your computer, without having to visit the Live Desktop at all.
· You can drag and drop files to folders on your Live Desktop. One of the most frequently requested features since we opened Live Mesh as a technology preview in April has been the ability to drag and drop files and folders to and from your Live Desktop. We’re extremely happy to be able to say: You can do this now! This makes the Live Desktop experience much more intuitive and even more aligned with Windows. Note that the drag-and-drop feature currently only works with a Windows PC and Internet Explorer 6 or later.
· You can select multiple files for upload or download. In addition to drag-and-drop, you can now use SHIFT and CTRL to select multiple files/folders when uploading them to your Live Desktop.
· Added new synchronisation status indicators. If you’ve been using Live Mesh to sync a lot of data, you’ve probably found yourself wondering at some point how far along the synchronisation process was. We’ve added an icon to the notification area of the Taskbar and a progress bar so that you can tell at a glance how your folder sync is coming.
· “Get started” feature added for new users. Quick tips on how to start using Live Mesh appear on the Live Desktop and when new users install the Live Mesh software. Great for friends and family you invite!
· Improved peer-to-peer (P2P) reliability and performance. P2P synchronisation is an integral part of how Live Mesh keeps your data current across all your devices. Most of the time, P2P sync happens in the background without you having to worry about it. When Live Mesh tries to update a file on one of your devices, it will leverage whatever connections it can, sometimes pulling from your Live Desktop (the “cloud”), other times pulling from your other devices. You can also choose to have some folders only sync P2P by choosing to never synchronise those folders with your Live Desktop. We have made numerous improvements to P2P sync with this release of Live Mesh. We’re now regularly testing synchronisation of folders as large as 60GB, and we’ve also had success synching a single file as large as 20GB.
· Hidden remote screen is now the default for Live Mesh Remote Desktop. We heard feedback from many customers that they’d like to see this feature turned on by default to help ensure the privacy of their remote desktop feature.
· Improved conflict resolution. The user interface (UI) for resolving conflicts has been updated to be easier to use. You’ll also now see the same conflict resolution UI between the Live Mesh software on your device and the Live Desktop on the web. And, when resolving a conflict, you’ll be able to choose keep either version of a file or all versions.
· The Live Mesh bar appears minimised by default, and remembers its previous state. When you create a new Live Mesh folder, the mesh bar (appears when you open a Live Mesh folder) will now appear minimised by default. The mesh bar will also remember the last state it was in (minimised or maximised) for each Live Mesh folder, and show that state the next time you open the folder.
· Better support for large display configurations using Live Mesh Remote Desktop. We’ve added a new “superpan” feature to improve support for large desktop display configurations (e.g., high-resolution displays or multiple monitors).
· Added support for two-factor authentication for Live Mesh Remote Desktop. Enterprise customers can now require two-factor authentication (both domain password and smartcard) for Live Mesh Remote Desktop on networks, or choose to disable the Live Mesh Remote Desktop functionality altogether.
· Install Live Mesh with roaming profiles. The Live Mesh client now supports installing to a user account with roaming profiles. Previously users may have noticed an inability to sync or remotely access devices that use roaming profiles.