Windows Live for Windows 8 previewed; commenters ask “where’s Live Mesh, and what about Essentials?”

By Kip Kniskern | Posted September 22, 2011 16 comments

screenshot_startScreen_webYesterday, Corporate Vice President for Windows Live Engineering Chris Jones, in a post entitled “A preview of Windows Live for Windows 8”,  expanded a bit on new Windows Live apps “based on Metro principles” and “targeted at Windows 8”.  Jones previewed the apps at Build last week, showing off Mail, Messaging, and Photos apps (which unfortunately are not part of the current developer build of Windows 8, released last week and available for download).

Jones touches on the key Windows Live elements of Windows 8, including syncing Windows 8 settings across Windows 8 PCs using a Windows Live ID, SkyDrive, new Metro style apps for Mail, Calendar, Photos, Messaging, and People, and the new Live Connect set of APIs that developers can use to leverage Live ID connections, SkyDrive, Hotmail, and Messenger.

But of course with what has to be an incomplete set of information filtering out so early in the Windows 8 process, there are at least as many questions as answers.  One persistent question among Windows Live enthusiasts revolves around Live Mesh.  In the comments section “davidacoder” asks:

I take it from this “long on marketing speake but short on clear info” blog post that there WON’T be file sync a la Mesh between computers and Skydrive? I have rarely seen a post so carefully avoiding a topic, and such evasiv answers to clear questions in the comments, gee… Just let us know if this no 1 requested feature will again not be there.

We also noticed a distinct lack of mention of Windows Live Mesh at Build, although there was quite a bit of talk about syncing between Windows 8 PCs (but not much talk about how that worked or how it would be managed).  Microsoft employee and SkyDrive PM Omar Shahine responded to davidacoder:

@davidacoder appreciate the enthusiasm around this request. While this post doesn’t specifically answer your question, we do realize where we have gaps in the scenarios we’ve enabled with SkyDrive and Mesh.

About as non-answer as an answer can get really, but the fact that Shahine responded is promising.

Another commenter, “frankwick”, laments “Don’t kill essentials!!! I use WLPG everyday”.  We’re not sure whether Essentials as a download suite will remain around, but in looking through some Microsoft Careers posts, we’re hopeful that the apps we’ve come to love, like Writer, Photo Gallery, and Movie Maker, appear to be here to stay, in some form or other:

The next version of Windows, codenamed “Windows 8”, emphasizes touch-first, modern experiences. Want to get involved? Come join the team building photos/videos experiences for the new platform.

We are seeking a great developer who will help build the next generation of touch-oriented photo/video experiences for consumers. You will be working with an experienced group of developers with a successful track record of building new experiences such as those found in Photo Gallery, Movie Maker and Writer.

Of course in all this talk about Windows 8, we’re still not hearing much at all about the next generation of Windows 7 Windows Live apps.  Will they too be Metro-inspired?  Will they continue to exist as a suite of apps, or will they be broken down into individual downloads?  How will Windows 7 and Windows 8 apps co-exist?

Jones at least acknowledges the rash of questions about what will happen to Windows Live Essentials as we know it:

Hello – As I noted in the post we’ll cover other improvements in subsequent posts. We’re certainly as excited as you are to share more about our work but want to do it when the time is right.

We might say that the time was right many months ago, but at least we’re beginning to hear more.  What do you want to know about the future of Windows Live?

Posted September 22nd, 2011 at 11:05 pm
Category: News
Tags: Windows 8, Windows Live
  • Chris

    This is what I’m hoping. 

    Microsoft buys out Yahoo.  Yahoo will be the new entreatment zone much like how MSN is now. They then use Windows Live Photo Gallery to have some deep flickr integration. flickr will remain unchanged, just be apart of Microsoft. 

    Messenger: both Yahoo and the current Windows Live messenger will be killed off. Microsoft will then create a new- bulit from the ground up skype client and that will be the new windows Live Messenger. It will then get a new shorten name. Deep messenger intergration across all services. WP7 (or WP8) Yahoo intergeration as well for current users. a more main stream chat client. No winks or middle school annoyances. 

    Mail: Microsoft will use all the services and features hotmail has but in the new yahoo UI. current users of Yahoo will be able to keep their e-mails. A new desktop client will be made with the ribbion/metro design. 

    Movie/DVD maker: Self explanatory

    bing Maps HD: A desktop client for bing maps. Much like google earth. 

  • Chris

    This is what I’m hoping. 

    Microsoft buys out Yahoo.  Yahoo will be the new entreatment zone much like how MSN is now. They then use Windows Live Photo Gallery to have some deep flickr integration. flickr will remain unchanged, just be apart of Microsoft. 

    Messenger: both Yahoo and the current Windows Live messenger will be killed off. Microsoft will then create a new- bulit from the ground up skype client and that will be the new windows Live Messenger. It will then get a new shorten name. Deep messenger intergration across all services. WP7 (or WP8) Yahoo intergeration as well for current users. a more main stream chat client. No winks or middle school annoyances. 

    Mail: Microsoft will use all the services and features hotmail has but in the new yahoo UI. current users of Yahoo will be able to keep their e-mails. A new desktop client will be made with the ribbion/metro design. 

    Movie/DVD maker: Self explanatory

    bing Maps HD: A desktop client for bing maps. Much like google earth. 

  • markiz

    I had an impression that most of the essentials applications will be built-in?

    For example, messaging metro app could be the new messenger. A la windows phone mango. which would be great. with msn, facebook and skype integrated, it would be a killer feature for me.

    and skydrive sync could be done in the apps themselves. like, for example, “save”, “save as..”, “save to skydrive”, or something like that.

  • markiz

    I had an impression that most of the essentials applications will be built-in?

    For example, messaging metro app could be the new messenger. A la windows phone mango. which would be great. with msn, facebook and skype integrated, it would be a killer feature for me.

    and skydrive sync could be done in the apps themselves. like, for example, “save”, “save as..”, “save to skydrive”, or something like that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/emiliano.magliocca Emiliano Magliocca

    …and this is my hope:

    - merge live messenger/skype/lync/yahoo messenger (if microsoft buy yahoo as i hope)
    - merge skydrive/mesh with full support of sync folders/files/remote desktop
    - sync rss and favorites after settings 

    more:
    - merge windows media player/zune/media center
    - merge paint and photogallery
    - merge wordpad and writer

    in one word less softwares with more functions!!!

    • http://simenm.tumblr.com Simen Mangseth

      I don’t agree with this two points:
      - merge paint and photogallery
      - merge wordpad and writer

      …but all the others!

  • Emiliano Magliocca

    …and this is my hope:

    - merge live messenger/skype/lync/yahoo messenger (if microsoft buy yahoo as i hope)
    - merge skydrive/mesh with full support of sync folders/files/remote desktop
    - sync rss and favorites after settings 

    more:
    - merge windows media player/zune/media center
    - merge paint and photogallery
    - merge wordpad and writer

    in one word less softwares with more functions!!!

    • Simen Mangseth

      I don’t agree with this two points:
      - merge paint and photogallery
      - merge wordpad and writer

      …but all the others!

  • Josh

    > “We also noticed a distinct lack of mention of Windows Live Mesh at Build”

    Really, you missed all of the talk where it would be native to the platform?  Where instead of an add on the backup to skydrive and syncing between computers happens out of the box?  And where API would be extended to app devs to leverage the service for themselves as well?  You should probably go back and re-watch some of the videos, because it looks like MS has a far better plan than the current iteration of mesh.  I don’t know if it will still exist as a standalone app for older platforms, but if losing backwards support is the cost of the current implementation plans it seems a price well worth it.  It will now be a first class service from MS instead of a side project 

  • Josh

    > “We also noticed a distinct lack of mention of Windows Live Mesh at Build”

    Really, you missed all of the talk where it would be native to the platform?  Where instead of an add on the backup to skydrive and syncing between computers happens out of the box?  And where API would be extended to app devs to leverage the service for themselves as well?  You should probably go back and re-watch some of the videos, because it looks like MS has a far better plan than the current iteration of mesh.  I don’t know if it will still exist as a standalone app for older platforms, but if losing backwards support is the cost of the current implementation plans it seems a price well worth it.  It will now be a first class service from MS instead of a side project 

  • http://twitter.com/jwk6 Jason Kohlhoff

    It’s pretty obvious that the new Windows Live Essentials applications will not be compatible with Windows 7 or Vista, because they are being built on Windows Runtime as Metro apps that are updateable via the App Store.  Windows Runtime is the new API for Metro apps, and it only exists on Windows 8 right now.

    Josh is right about Live Mesh being integrated into the platform.  However I really hope that they continue to update Live Mesh as a standalone app for Windows Vista and 7.  People would have no reason to even consider Dropbox or something else if Live Mesh and Sync to SkyDrive actually worked the way we want it to.

  • http://twitter.com/jwk6 Jason Kohlhoff

    It’s pretty obvious that the new Windows Live Essentials applications will not be compatible with Windows 7 or Vista, because they are being built on Windows Runtime as Metro apps that are updateable via the App Store.  Windows Runtime is the new API for Metro apps, and it only exists on Windows 8 right now.

    Josh is right about Live Mesh being integrated into the platform.  However I really hope that they continue to update Live Mesh as a standalone app for Windows Vista and 7.  People would have no reason to even consider Dropbox or something else if Live Mesh and Sync to SkyDrive actually worked the way we want it to.

  • Jason Kohlhoff

    It’s pretty obvious that the new Windows Live Essentials applications will not be compatible with Windows 7 or Vista, because they are being built on Windows Runtime as Metro apps that are updateable via the App Store.  Windows Runtime is the new API for Metro apps, and it only exists on Windows 8 right now.

    Josh is right about Live Mesh being integrated into the platform.  However I really hope that they continue to update Live Mesh as a standalone app for Windows Vista and 7.  People would have no reason to even consider Dropbox or something else if Live Mesh and Sync to SkyDrive actually worked the way we want it to.

  • http://www.HalliganProjects.com Rob Halligan

    I started using sync with Folder Share before Microsoft bought it. Since then MS has changed the name and functionality of it’s sync “product” numerous time. What I miss at this point is some missing sync to Windows Phone and clarity on future SkyDrive capabilities. (Yes, we have OneNote sync in 7.0 and more things syncing in 7.5.) What I’d like to hear about is IE Favorites and dictionary sync. Live Mesh presently has Program Settings built in. There’s an IE section and an MS Office section (by default). If those Live Mesh syncs were not only synced between my computers but with my Phone, I’d be shouting from the roof tops how good Windows Phone is.
    I also think it’s strange and disappointing that Windows Live has “federation” with Flickr but Flickr Sets don’t show up in the Windows Phone Picture Hub.
    +1 on the stuff Emiliano Magliocca asks for.

  • http://www.HalliganProjects.com Rob Halligan

    I started using sync with Folder Share before Microsoft bought it. Since then MS has changed the name and functionality of it’s sync “product” numerous time. What I miss at this point is some missing sync to Windows Phone and clarity on future SkyDrive capabilities. (Yes, we have OneNote sync in 7.0 and more things syncing in 7.5.) What I’d like to hear about is IE Favorites and dictionary sync. Live Mesh presently has Program Settings built in. There’s an IE section and an MS Office section (by default). If those Live Mesh syncs were not only synced between my computers but with my Phone, I’d be shouting from the roof tops how good Windows Phone is.
    I also think it’s strange and disappointing that Windows Live has “federation” with Flickr but Flickr Sets don’t show up in the Windows Phone Picture Hub.
    +1 on the stuff Emiliano Magliocca asks for.

  • http://simenm.tumblr.com Simen Mangseth

    I don’t agree with this two points:
    - merge paint and photogallery
    - merge wordpad and writer

    …but all the others!