Amazing online services from Microsoft

4 06 2009

I’ve been using Yahoo Briefcase for so long that when I received the closure announcement, I didn’t know what to do. It didn’t provide the option to transfer the existing files to any other service providers, like it did for Yahoo! Photos. 

As I searched for alternatives, I came to know about the following MS products:

Sky Drive offers free storage upto 25 GB. One can store all kinds of files and share the folders with others. It’s the best alternative to my Yahoo Briefcase and in fact much much better. I haven’t explored this service much myself, but you can find all about the new developments in its blog: Windows Live SkyDrive team blog

Another similar product is Live office Workspaces, where you can create workspaces for your various needs like Work, Class, Home, Shopping etc and save relevant files (not just docs) in them. It also provides  workspace templates for some common purposes like Class, Event, Project, Job Search, Study, Travel etc. 

In addition to uploading various files to the workspaces, you can also create items such as a list, note, word document, excel spreadsheet, ppt etc. Isn’t it cool? 

I feel it’s much better than Google Docs for the following reasons:

  • You can upload a great variety of files (as opposing to only .doc, .xls, .ppt, .pdf in Google Docs)
  • Create lists and notes in addition to standard office documents
  • Provides templates for the common needs
  • Can upload multiple files at a time

And the storage limit is 5GB per subscription, which is not bad at all. 

And there is Live Mesh. It’s actually different from the other two.  It is a data synchronization system, which enables you to access and share folders and files across multiple devices.  You need to have the Live Mesh application installed on all the machines you want to connect to the mesh. Once you add a machine to your mesh, you can connect to it (from another machine connected to the mesh) and work on it as if you are sitting before that system. Also there is a Live Desktop, which allows you to place files and folders on it from different devices in the mesh.  This enables you share files across devices. 

I’ve been intrigued by Live Mesh ever since I’ve heard about it and it works great for me.  But I could work on it only in IE. 

Live Office Workspaces and Live Mesh are still in Beta stage and hence are far from perfect. Live Mesh has many known issues right now, which you can refer to here

Aren’t these amazing? And you just need to have a Windows Live id to avail these services from Microsoft. 

I was so impressed by these services that I wondered why I didn’t hear about them earlier. Is Microsoft underplaying? I would expect more aggressive marketing from the software giant.



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