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Microsoft brings back Live Mesh, sort of

Software maker will rename its merged Live Sync product using the Mesh name, also bringing along Mesh's larger cloud storage feature.

Microsoft has decided to make a series of changes to its Live Sync service including changing the name to the Windows Live Mesh before it is released in final form this fall.

Live Sync, as the product being tested is currently known, is actually a combination of two existing sync services, Windows Live Sync and Live Mesh. Though both services were aimed at making files and settings available across multiple devices, each took a somewhat different approach.

In merging the two services, Microsoft is hoping to make things simpler, though naming has been a challenge. With either name, Microsoft has a challenge to educate users about what the service does, says Dharmesh Mehta, a director in the Windows Live group.

"There were good things about both of them," Mehta said of the two names. "Both of our brands we would have had to build with consumers."

Microsoft also plans to make some other changes to the service before it goes final later this fall, including upping the cloud storage limit from 2GB to the same 5GB level that users had in the technical preview of Live Mesh. It also will improve the way that users see which files have yet to be synchronized and allow for syncing of hidden files.

Mehta said that very few testers have hit the 2GB limit in the current beta version but that the company has built up its infrastructure to the point that it can offer the 5GB amount that users had with the old Live Mesh service. The storage limit applies only to the data kept on Microsoft's servers; users can synchronize an unlimited amount of data among computers.

The service will support both PCs and Macs (those running Mac OS X 10.5 or later), but not any other devices, at least for now, Mehta said. Live Mesh will be released as part of the Windows Live Essentials 2011 suite that is due this fall and includes Windows Live Movie Maker, Windows Live Photo Gallery, Windows Live Mail, Windows Live Writer, and other programs.