If you are a tech person than it is a bit hard not to notice that Microsoft has just released Microsoft Live Mesh. TechMeme and many tech bloggers are excited about it. There are numerous posts out there that explain what Live Mesh can do technically. I think I like Robert Scoble’s post best, because he automatically tries to find implications and uses of the technology for users.
I believe it is a pretty bold move of Microsoft. Instead of fighting a battle on just the desktop, or the browser, they are now challenging everyone in both the desktop and on line world by providing a platform that syncs a users devices, applications and data in one place. What strikes me most is not the technical solution they have chosen, but the fact that the technology is “open”. By “open”I mean that it isn’t necessarily limited to Windows devices, or even worse, Microsoft products. If this technology will be adopted quickly then Microsoft might just dominate the world once again. This time not by forcing a software system down every computer owners throat. But by providing a valuable platform that can tie all the user’s technology together in one place.
I have a technical background and have worked many times with complex technologies. I have build software in different languages, and worked in teams on complex technological implementations. But I am always amazed at the enthousiasm of tech bloggers when an announchement as this is made. Everyone gets all excited about the technological capabilities, but I haven’t found much on the usage of it. The question to be answered is, how will the user benefit? Let’s face it. Most people don’t know how or could care less about synchronizing folders or data. Having a “newsfeed” is nice, but it seems any service that launches without one is old-school “web 2.0” (we moved on to 3.x I guess). Running software from any device or any place is a cool tech solution, but there aren’t many non-tech people out there yet that have a need for it.
Does that mean that the launch of Microsoft Live Mesh isn’t a big deal? Sure it is. But I’m not getting excited of the technology announcement. I’m interested in the announcements of companies building great user services over this platform!
I will be thinking a bit about this the coming days. And I sure hope the development community will do that too. Let’s not talk about the technology. Let’s get into the user experience, the services, the drivers that make me want to use it. The first thing that comes to mind is that this technology could be leveraged to create a user centric web, a web in which the Internet, the interactions, the devices evolve around the user, instead of a portal. Being able to get and share the important stuff with friends without having to go somewhere first would be a great improvement over current web 2.0 thinking. But it needs ot be non-technical. And that might just be the biggest challenge of this impressive technology launch.