What’s a platform experience (and why do I care?)

Hi everyone, I’m Noah Edelstein, Group Program Manager for Mesh Platform Experiences. I wanted to share some of the thinking behind the platform experience we’re releasing today as part of the technology preview.

It might be worth describing what I think a “platform experience” is – and to do this, I’ll use Windows as an example. Windows contains platform services that both allow your computer to function, and applications developers to write apps. This includes things like device drivers, memory management, etc. In addition, Windows contains a set of user gestures that define how customers interact with the platform and applications written on the platform. This includes the ability to open, close, and resize windows, manage files in folders, and find applications in the Start menu. Live Mesh is a platform with rich and deep services, including synchronization, device management, online storage, and communications. We’ve also built the platform experiences for real people to interact with the platform to realize real value. As Mike explained in his post, Live Mesh is built to be a broad platform, and as he said, “the easiest way to express the fundamental potential of a platform is with an experience that delights and generates even more ideas”.

This thinking was central to our efforts as we designed the platform experiences for Live Mesh. Releasing these experiences early as a Technology Preview gives us an opportunity to collect feedback about both the platform and the experiences we’ve built on top of it. We’re hoping that you find the experiences we’ve designed useful and delightful.

We’ll be posting more thoughts about this over time. For now, let me point you to our First Look whitepaper, an overview of the platform experience we’ve built and how it relates to the underlying platform. To whet your appetite, below is an excerpt from the beginning of the doc. I’m looking forward to hearing how you use your mesh!

Why Live Mesh?

Today we live in a world of the Web and a world of devices. Although the Web is at the center of our experiences, those experiences are delivered through a diverse range of increasingly powerful devices. As we take advantage of this new digital world, our experiences often become fractured and complex. We create and accumulate massive amounts of data, with the information and applications we care about residing on different devices and spread across the Web. We also interact with a broader array of people, struggling to stay connected with them and informed of the latest happenings. We are in need of, and increasingly demand, seamless “just works” computing experiences that bring it all together.

Microsoft is starting to solve these and many related problems with Live Mesh, a platform experience that uses the Internet as a hub to bring together your data, devices, applications, and the people you want to connect with into your own personal “mesh” that is always up-to-date and available from anywhere. With Live Mesh, Microsoft believes that:

… your devices should work together.

… your data and applications should be available from anywhere.

… the people you need to connect with should be just a few clicks away for simple sharing, collaborating, and learning more about them.

… you should have all the information you need to stay informed.

What is Live Mesh?

Live Mesh is a “software-plus-services” platform and experience that enables PCs and other devices to “come alive” by making them aware of each other through the Internet, enabling individuals and organizations to manage, access, and share their files and applications seamlessly on the Web and across their world of devices. Live Mesh includes:

§ A platform that defines and models a user’s digital relationships between devices, data, applications, and people—made available to developers through an open data model and protocols.

§ A cloud service providing an implementation of the platform hosted in Microsoft data centers.

§ Software, a client implementation of the platform that enables local applications to run offline and interact seamlessly with the cloud.

§ A platform experience that exposes the key benefits of the platform for bringing together a user’s devices, files and applications, and social graph, with news feeds across all of these.

What differentiates Live Mesh is its underlying platform. As a platform company, Microsoft believes in the power of the operating environment—and that if that environment is built correctly, the entire ecosystem will benefit. Live Mesh is built on the Live Services Platform, providing a Web-centric Mesh Operating Environment that evolves the user experience from one of “My Computer” to one of “My Mesh,” with the user at the center of that experience.

While many existing offerings may appear similar in that they utilize hosted services for storage, sharing files, or peer-to-peer connections between PCs, most of those products fulfill only one specific need. Live Mesh is unique in that it takes a more robust approach, bringing together all of this functionality in one offering. By weaving together the best of software and Internet services, Live Mesh delivers a platform and experience that is comprehensive yet simple and open.

Who Will Benefit?

Live Mesh provides a seamless “just works” experience that puts you at the center of your digital world by connecting you with the people you care about and putting you in control of your information, applications, and devices. As such, it can benefit anyone who uses the Internet and has more than one device—or has only one PC but wants to access its data or applications from nearly anywhere. Early adopters will likely be technology-savvy individuals who today struggle with multiple devices. However, this user base will expand over time as more and more individuals see the benefit of a Live Mesh approach to simplifying their computing experiences, sharing information, and staying connected.

Specific benefits of Live Mesh include:

§ Devices Working Together. Live Mesh brings the Web to your devices so that your data and applications are seamlessly synchronized and aware of each other, communicating over encrypted channels to help keep user data secure.

§ Anywhere Access. The information you put in your mesh is available from any of your other devices, including your own personal Live Desktop that resides on the Web. Live Mesh also provides remote desktop functionality for situations where you need to take full control of a device remotely.

§ Simple to Share. With Live Mesh, you can simply invite a friend or colleague to share a folder, giving them access to view or edit only the files you put in the folder. Live Mesh keeps track of and synchronizes the changes across your mesh.

§ Stay Informed. Live Mesh has a robust news feed system that allows you to easily keep track of the activities you care about, including the online status of your friends or colleagues, changes to files and folders in your mesh, and the status of your devices.

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Comments (13)
  1. Tonight we introduced Live Mesh go and see http://www.mesh.com – follow it on TweetScan . Read the blog

  2. hello baby says:

    good news but the concept is old what’s the innovation here?

  3. I got the following email a while back from Alister Cameron and it’s been sitting in my inbox waiting

  4. DaveP says:

    Great news ! If you can implement some efficient viral spread mechanism for applications whereby whenever a developer adds an app, this is propagated through the newsfeed of every friend of friend in the social graph then you’ll score a hit.

  5. Live Mesh says:

    We are delighted to announce the release of our next major update, which will be available later today.

  6. News says:

    We are delighted to announce the release of our next major update, which will be available later today

  7. The Live Mesh product team just announced that it is available for everyone in the US (without the need

  8. It’s official! One of the coolest new platform on Live is now available in Canada for testing and there

  9. Live Mesh says:

    Amit Mital here – I run the Live Mesh & Developer Platform team. At Web 2.0 in April we announced

  10. At Web 2.0 in April we announced Live Mesh and opened it up for people to try out our platform experience

  11. In April Live Mesh was announced at the Web 2.0 conference and opened it up for people to try out our

  12. The MSDN Flash ( signup ) team in Australia let me write the editorial this month, below is what got

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