New storage service – Windows Live Folders

While news on the “Live Drive” front has been rather non-existant of late, there are some signs that may be about to change. A new service, Windows Live Folders beta, was recently listed on the Windows Live Feedback site, though it was only a matter of days before it was removed. While it doesn’t take a genius to work out this is likely to be a storage service, the question is what will it be? A revamped FolderShare, the “Live Drive” cloud storage service everybody has been waiting for, or a combination of both?

The initial details being discussed at TechEd last year were for a cloud storage service offering 2GB of space for free. Looking at services that have been operating in this market for a while, this figure seems to be lower than what will eventually be offered. Xdrive currently offers 5GB for free and 50GB for $9.95 a month but without the economies of scale that Microsoft can draw upon. (The newest Microsoft datacenter opened in Quincy at the end of last month and more are on the way.) Interestingly enough, the online Apple service .mac is still offering a basic service of just 1GB for $100 a year and a total of 4GB for another $100 a year. With Windows Live Hotmail offering a 2GB inbox (Hotmail Plus 4GB), it definitely makes sense for a Windows Live cloud storage service to offer significantly more than this.

The other key feature that was talked about last year is being able to map your online storage to your PC so you can access it as you would any other drive. The existing Windows Live Messenger feature, Shared Folders, does this already for peer-to-peer sharing, so perhaps this is where the name Windows Live Folders comes in.

To save our intrepid readers from doing this themselves, currently points to the new Windows Live beta site. One question I do have is how would people use a cloud storage service and therefore how much storage space would they need – would you pay for more if the price was right?