“Live Drive” is almost here – Windows Live Folders beta

windowslivefolderslogo News One beta ends and suddenly five more spring up in its place. We can finally get the talk around Windows Live going again – the Windows Live Folders site has just opened up in preparation for the beta. (Please note the beta has not yet started, so the site will not work correctly.)

So how does it work? Windows Live Folders allows you to upload your files to the cloud, providing access to them from an internet browser (both IE and Firefox are supported). The key part is using Windows Live ID to limit access to the files you have uploaded, allowing you to keep them private, share them with contacts, or make them public. With Windows Live, it’s the sum of the parts that gives it so much potential. Here’s a summary of the Folders service:

Personal

  • Use personal folders to back up important files that are only for you.
  • Get to your files from any computer with Internet access by signing in with your Windows Live ID.

Shared

  • Shared folders make it easy to collaborate with coworkers or classmates.
  • You decide how much control each person has over each shared folder. Some can just read what’s there: others can add and delete files.
  • Everyone who is sharing uses their own Windows Live ID.

Public

  • With public folders, anyone on the Internet can view your files, but they can’t change them.
  • Want to show your public files to others? Just send them a link! Each folder and file has its own web address.

The beta service looks to only be offering 500MB initially, with a maximum file size of ~50MB but as we’ve seen with the just-launched Windows Live Hotmail, internet services need to be scaled up carefully. There’s no Windows Live Folders client available for download either, undoubtably a key part of the “Live Drive” package, but lets not get too disappointed yet. The beta we’ve all been waiting for is almost here.

A brief review and screenshots is available separately as this post got too long.

Windows Live Folders homepage

Update: Folders is now in beta however there are no invites currently available. See all our posts tags Folders for the latest information or subscribe to our RSS feed to find out when the beta re-opens!