When Windows Live Wave 3 was announced last week, it was revealed that Windows Live FolderShare was being renamed as Windows Live Sync. Yesterday the former FolderShare team blog revealed that Live Sync is coming in December 2008 and tells us what to expect:
In December, we will release a new product called Windows Live Sync. You can think of it as FolderShare 2.0. It’s going to look familiar and offer the same great features, plus:
- More folders and files – sync up to 20 folders with 20,000 files each.
- Integration with Windows Live ID – no more extra sign-in stuff to remember.
- Integration with the Recyle Bin – no more separate Trash folder to fiddle with.
- New client versions for both Windows and Mac.
- Unicode support – sync files in other languages.
A huge part of Sync’s success story depends on FolderShare users like you. When Sync releases, FolderShare goes into retirement. That means your FolderShare software will stop working and will ask you to upgrade to Sync. Once you do, Sync will automatically rebuild your personal folders. We expect a lot of new users when Sync is released, so if you can’t sign in right away, please give it a little time.
Here’s the part you need to pay attention to: Sync will not be able to rebuild your shared libraries. If you have a lot of shared libraries, you should hop over to the FolderShare website while it’s still available and copy all that information. You’ll need it to rebuild your shared libraries in Sync.
You should also note that the Professional option is being retired with the FolderShare name. Sync has a single offer, which provides free synchronization for up to 20 libraries and 20,000 files. We’ll be working to raise those numbers as our service grows.
Sounds swell, but you’ll notice that many of the comments on the above blog post ask the reasonable question of how Live Sync will relate to Live Mesh which performs the same sort of synchronization function. Good question and hopefully the answer is not another migration down the road.
Last night Microsoft announced Windows Live Wave 3 and besides the expected updates of existing Windows Live offerings, there was some social networking added to the stew:
Microsoft Corp. today announced the next generation of Windows Live, an integrated set of online services that make it easier and more fun for consumers to communicate and share with the people they care about most. The new generation of Windows Live includes updated experiences for photo sharing, e-mail, instant messaging, as well as integration with multiple third-party sites. The release also includes Windows Live Essentials, free downloadable software that enhances consumers’ Windows experience by helping them simplify and enjoy digital content scattered across their PC, phone and on Web sites.
Translation: Just as before, there are some purely Web pieces and some downloadable pieces of Windows Live and the latter are termed Windows Live Essentials and will complement Windows 7.
Consumers today are creating online content and sharing it in many places across the Web. To help make is simple for the more than 460 million Windows Live customers to keep their friends up to date, Microsoft is collaborating with leading companies including Flickr, LinkedIn Corp., Pandora Media Inc., Photobucket Inc., Twitter, WordPress and Yelp Inc. to integrate activities on third-party sites into Windows Live through a new profile and What’s New feed. The new Windows Live also gives consumers the added convenience of having a central place to organize and manage information.
“Think of Windows Live as the single place where people using our e-mail, messaging and photo-sharing services can stay connected,” said Chris Jones, corporate vice president of Windows Live Experience Program Management at Microsoft. “Our customers have friends across the Web. They communicate through many unconnected Web services and want access to it all from a single location — without worrying about how it’s done. Now Windows Live takes care of that, with an integrated personal communication service that works across the Web with optimized experiences on the PC and mobile phone.”
In a nutshell, Microsoft is creating a Windows Live “dashboard” for individual information management incorporating the activities of the users and their friends across a number of non-Microsoft as well as Microsoft sites.
Some other changes:
Microsoft is currently in the middle of phase 3 of a five phase rollout of Wave 3 with no crisp endpoint date. More detail on all of this is available in the Windows Live Wave 3 Reviewer’s Guide.
My first take is that Microsoft has done a nice job of trying to bring order out of the Windows Live chaos, although there are still too many “products” with the Windows Live brand confusing the picture. Think of how much nicer it would have been if Windows Live had always been a unitary product that periodically got feature upgrades. But I digress – Wave 3 is nonetheless an important step for unifying Windows Live even if it never attracts a Facebook-type audience.
ActiveWin.com has learned Microsoft has quietly changed the FolderShare beta into a Windows Live Service. Check the website out for additional information. “FolderShareTM allows you to create a private peer-to-peer network that will help you to synchronize files across multiple devices and access or share files with colleagues and friends.”
The fact that it is peer-to-peer will avoid the criticism recently leveled at Google for the multisystem file searching feature of the latest version of the Google desktop which involved transmitting files to Google servers, albeit encrypted.
I also have to observe that like Windows Live Family Safety Settings, this is another niche where there are established players (e.g. Laplink, Avvenu) and the 800 pound gorilla has just arrived to squash them with a presumably free service. At least part of Windows Live seems to be taking on the aspect of a squeeze play on the niche software vendors. If the antitrust regulators in the EU and Korea were originally aroused on behalf of competitive multimedia player and instant messaging vendors, it’s not clear why this won’t be another red flag for them.