Windows 8 to Integrate Live Mesh / SkyDrive

Microsoft have been keen to push their Ribbon interface over the last few years since it first appeared in Office 2007.  The most notable instances being the tight integration with the Live Essentials 2011 Suite of programs.  Other instances include the addition of the Ribbon to WordPad and Paint in Windows 7.

Now Paul Thurrott and Raphael Rivera have released screenshots of Windows 8 which clearly show that Microsoft intend to bring the ribbon to Windows 8’s Explorer interface.

So far people have been giving mixed reactions to this.  There are, after all, not that many commands in Explorer and we’ve seen how, such as in the Live Essentials 2011 Suite,  how not having many commands can make the ribbon look a bit rubbish.  On the other hand I’ve been using Windows 7 on a tablet for a while now, and I can assure you that buttons on the Ribbon are much easier to click.

Dig a little deeper into this image though and it’s clear to see that options to Sync and Share files and folders with the cloud will be part of Explorer itself.

It was inevitable that Microsoft would eventually move towards a more cloud-oriented version of Windows and we’ve known for some time that users will be able to log into any copy of WIndows 8 using their Live ID and straight away have access to their Internet favourites and some files.

It makes sense then for SkyDrive and Live Mesh to both be built into the product.  This does raise two questions however.

The first question is how extensive this integration will be and how easy it will be to use.  Will Microsoft for instance be expanding the storage available on Live Mesh by the time Windows 8 ships?  It’s reasonable to assume that by then Mesh and SkyDrive will be fully merged, something that has been delayed so far due to technical limitations of the two services being hosted in two different ways, but will it offer a full PC backup solution?  Will it enable you to access any of your backed up files on any Windows 8 PC as if they were on that computer itself?

The other question is how third-party backup companies, such as Mozy and Amazon, will respond.  This could cause complaints against Windows the likes of which we’ve not seen since the old anti-virus trials.

Regardless of how this turns out the integration of these services into Windows 8 is both welcome and makes complete sense.  Sadly the inclusion of anti-virus software also makes complete sense.  We might have to wait a few more versions before that happens though.

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