Live Mesh Beta is a online file synchronization service based on Microsoft's Live platform. The service is comparable to other file synchronization services like Dropbox. In its current stage only computers running the Windows operating system are supported but Microsoft has announced plans to add Mac and mobile support at a later stage.
The other requirements are a Windows Live ID and Microsoft Internet Explorer to access the contents on the Internet. Users who might find those restrictions to strict are better off with Dropbox who is less restrictive in this regard.
Live Mesh works by adding computer devices to the Mesh. The Mesh are all devices that synchronize data. It basically works by adding devices to the Mesh in first place, e.g. a local computer running Windows XP. That computer is then added to the Mesh that the user has access to. The process finishes with the installation of the Live Mesh software on the local computer.
Live Mesh will create a system folder on the computer system containing all folders that have been selected for synchronization by the user. That's different from Dropbox which makes use of one static folder with the requirement that all synchronized folders are created in that folder. Some users have posted workarounds by using symbolic links but that's pretty advanced and not recommended for beginners or inexperienced computer users.
Folders can be added by right-clicking them and selecting "Add folder to Live Mesh" from the context menu. It takes a few seconds before the newly selected folder appears in the global system folder. Synchronization with the Live Mesh online service usually starts immediately afterwards.
Live Mesh is currently providing 5 Gigabytes of storage space to its users, 3 Gigabytes more than what Dropbox is currently offering.
Another interesting option is the ability to invite members. Inviting members will give them access to selected folders - and their files. That's interesting if documents need to be shared with several computer users regularly.
Live Mesh does have its shortcomings. The main being the concentration on the Windows platform and the Internet Explorer requirement for browsing the data online. While Internet Explorer will surely remain a requirement the prospect of being able to add mobile devices and Macs looks interesting. It remains to be seen though if mobile devices are limited to the Windows Mobile platform.
As of now Live Mesh provides a fast way of synchronizing data online for Windows users. It works intuitive, the performance is fine and the storage space is enough for a lots of data.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.