Windows Live Storage: Live Drive, Sky Drive, SDrive, Project M?

Lots of buzz around a first peek at Google's GDrive plans, and speculation on the Windows Live "response" has been in the news as well.

A bit of clarification on the Windows Live plans, as we know them. The project known as "Live Drive", while it's getting a lot of press, will not provide the same types of services as the peek at GDrive seems to imply Google is proposing. Live Drive will offer a "FolderShare" like ability to access files from a remote computer – provided there is an internet connection between computers, and that the computer being accessed is running, as we reported here. Windows Live Search (the desktop one) is planned to be able to search across these remotely accessed files, providing remote access, and search capabilities, but no actual "in the cloud" storage.

That function is to be provided by another project, we're hearing it called SkyDrive, that will allow some of the 2gig (or more) Windows Live email storage to be used for file storage and access. This is more what GDrive is thought to offer, but it's not "Live Drive", at least not at this point. How it will interface with Live Drive remains to be seen, of course.

SDrive, the code name for Windows Live Messenger Sharing Folders, also offers file sharing and file synching between computers, this time from one Messenger user to another. Expect this sharing to be expanded, sharing files within circles of friends, for example.

And yes there's one more Windows Live file sharing product in the works, this one called Project M. The project, now a part of Windows Live, is planned as a WinFX based graphical front end to file sharing, manipulation, and storage. The first peek at this product has come in the form of MicrosoftMax, the image manipulation proof of concept. Project M seeks to expand that narrow focus, providing a "graphical UI for all of your data from the web, your devices, your file systems, your e-mail stores, etc."

Whether or not these services reach the market in their current forms is unclear, as they are largely pre-beta projects. How they fit together, overlap, duplicate each other, or clash is also unclear at this point. It is clear that file sharing, file synching, and file storage in the cloud are getting lots of attention within Microsoft.