Windows Live Mesh has just been updated, as of about noon on Thursday 10/30. If you are using it already, you will be notified to install the update; it will stop working until the update is installed on each computer running it. If you are not using it yet, it has been fully opened up to everyone – read about it, make sure you have your Windows Live ID set up, and you are free to sign up.

Windows Live Mesh is a place to store files online, a program that runs on your computer to keep folders in sync on multiple computers, and a way to get remote access to your computer from anywhere. Live Mesh now supports Macs, and limited testing has begun for Windows Mobile devices. (Click here for more information about the Windows Mobile client.) You will be able to take a picture with your cell phone and have the photo show up immediately on your PC and your Mac, or share files with anyone by sharing a Live Mesh folder so they can access it online or synced to their own computer.

The remote access is extremely well designed and will make it unnecessary for most people to pay for a subscription to LogMeIn or GoToMyPC. Connecting from one computer in your Mesh to another one is a single click – hover over the Mesh icon and click on “Connect.” Files can be transferred between the local computer and the remote computer by dragging and dropping copying and pasting them.

[Addendum 10/31: Although files can be transferred between the local and remote computers by copying and pasting them, Live Mesh does not currently support dragging and dropping them. Live Mesh Remote Desktop also apparently does not implement any support for printing at all, so you can work on your remote computer but you can’t print something directly on your local printer. Those will be compelling reasons for some of you to use LogMeIn Pro instead of Live Mesh for remote access!]

Other updated features:

  • Tips for new users.
  • Better support for large monitors in remote sessions.
  • Permission levels for shared folders – creator, owner, contributor, reader.
  • Drag and drop files between your PC and Live Desktop.
  • Multiple file upload to Live Desktop.

Microsoft showed only a couple of applications built on the Mesh framework at the PDC this week. The BBC demonstrated a Meshified version of its iPlayer, an extremely popular service in England for watching TV shows online. The Mesh version will remember what you’ve watched and spread that information to all your devices. If you watch part of a show on your computer, the episode will start where you left off when you tune in on your cell phone or on another computer.

But that’s just a taste of what’s coming. Under the hood, Live Mesh has been moved to the Windows Azure framework that Microsoft announced at the PDC underlying all of their upcoming web services, and it’s powerful stuff indeed. You are watching and taking part in a transition that will affect you just as deeply as the initial shift to the Internet. I’ll write more about that in the next few days!