More Windows Live Sync Beta Details

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I get more excited every time I see more data coming out of Redmond about the upcoming release of Windows Live Essentials which is due for a public beta this month – at least that is what I read and here.

The latest gouge is on Windows Live Sync which is taking elements of Sync and Mesh and making one single product to synchronize your data between your PC’s.

The post today from David Treadwell who is the Vice President of Live Platform Services lets us know what to expect from Windows Live Sync when it comes out.

Windows Live Sync beta blends the best of Sync and Mesh

Access to your PC from anywhere – Many people used the remote desktop feature in Live Mesh to access files or apps from a main PC that they left online.  Similarly, people used the previous version of Sync to browse to files on their main PC remotely over the web. We’ve standardized on one solution for remote desktop access in the new Sync. We’ve kept it simple and easy to set up, but made it faster and more responsive by adding data centers and optimizing our protocols. We’ve also improved support for multiple monitors, and added zoom.

All your stuff on all the PCs you use regularly – With all of the new types of PCs available, we saw more people adding 2nd or 3rd PCs and wanting all their files in sync across PCs. With the new Sync, we’ve focused on making this very simple. Now in a few clicks you can sync Windows folders like Documents, Photos, Music, and Videos across all your PCs.  To do this, we invested heavily in peer-to-peer synchronization so you don’t have to worry about cloud storage limits.  For example, the new Sync beta intelligently chooses the right connection (internet or your local network) to sync files between different computers. We also increased key sync limits, with support for more sync folders, many more files in each folder, and the ability to synchronize files as large as 40GB now. 

Your most important desktop stuff synced to the cloud – Mesh users told us they liked having files they worked with every day constantly synced to the cloud, so that they could access them anywhere – even if the originating PC was off.  We also learned that they were using the cloud to sync personal files across machines. So, we focused on making cloud synchronization more reliable. We made sure we were providing enough cloud storage to sync a really important folder to the cloud. Although more is always better, we found that 2GB of cloud storage was enough for most of the common cases, while keeping our costs at a level that we could afford to run the service for free. Of course, you can always give other people permission to access any of your Sync folders if, for example, you want to share large picture collections or personal videos with your family.

Simple document collaboration over the web – You told us it took too much coaching to get others to use Mesh or Sync for sharing with you. You often spent time managing file conflicts because people were online at different times. That’s why we introduced the all new Office Web Apps in SkyDrive. With co-authoring and files that live in the cloud, Office Web Apps avoid most cases where edits collide, simplifying the experience for everyone.  We also brought the social “news feed” from Mesh into SkyDrive.  And all of this is web-based, so it’s easy for anyone to participate. We also saw that many people used Mesh to share OneNote notebooks across PCs. So we worked with the Office team to make OneNote 2010 sync to your SkyDrive right out of the box.

A caveat that seems to come up on a lot of these new Windows Live Essentials Services is that they will require Windows Vista or Windows 7 PC’s.  No Windows XP love here and it actually makes a lot of sense. It is time to move on from that long in the tooth OS.

I am looking forward to Windows Live Sync because currently I use Windows Live Mesh to keep my wife’s document folders between her desktop and laptop.  This allows her to have access to her files on either system and stay up to date in both directions.  Windows Live Mesh has done an excellent job of this but always used the Internet to transfer the files. With Windows Live Sync it will use our local home network to do that transfer which means a quicker and more real time backup.

How do you plan to use Windows Live Sync? Let us know in the comments.

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