Today at Microsoft’s Mix conference for developers, which Duncan just finished liveblogging, chief software architect Ray Ozzie hinted at a new service Microsoft is about to preview that will be called Mesh. It sounds like cloud computing for the masses—an ambitious platform that will attempt to unite Web applications across all of your devices, from multiple PCs to cell phones. I got my hands on the transcript of Ozzie’s speech, and this is the part I found most intriguing:
Just imagine the possibilities enabled by centralized configuration and personalization and remote control of all your devices from just about anywhere. Just imagine the convenience of unified data management, the transparent synchronization of files, folders, documents, and media. The bi-directional synchronization of arbitrary feeds of all kinds across your devices and the Web, a kind of universal file synch.
Just imagine the possibilities of unified application management across the device mesh, centralized, Web-based deployment of device-based applications. Imagine an app platform that’s cognizant of all of your devices. Now, as it so happens, we’ve had a team at Microsoft working on this specific scenario for some time now, starting with the PC and focused on the question of how we might make life so much easier for individuals if we just brought together all your PCs into a seamless mesh, for users, for developers, using the Web as a hub.
Before you know it, you in this audience are going to have the option of being the first to try out an early technology preview of this simple but incredibly useful new software and service. As this product emerges just over the horizon, I think you’ll find it to be quite intriguing and key in delivering upon a compelling vision of a personal device mesh and of connected devices.
Notice how many times he says the word “mesh.” Well, if you go to Mesh.com, it brings you to Windows Live ID sign-in page for a site that is not yet up. I tried to sign in and was told my account is not authorized, but was sent to this URL: https://preview.mshorizon.com/. People have personal, device and businesses meshes, and Microsoft wants to connect them all. What Ozzie is describing (remember, he is taking to developers) is the age-old dream of writing an app once and having it deployed anywhere and everywhere. It’s a bit of vaporware right now, but well worth keeping an eye on to see if it fulfills the promise Ozzie is hinting at.
Now, one more technical detail that might shed some light on what Mesh will be. Shortly after this part of his speech, Ozzie announced the beta of SQL Server Data Services, a hosted database. I am not sure that the two are connected, but SQL Server Data Services sounds like Microsoft’s Blue/Cloud project. And if this is part of Microsoft’s entry into cloud computing perhaps Mesh is built on top of that hosted database. Thoughts anyone?