Microsoft has launched a web-based platform which allows subscribers to synchronise "the people, devices, programs, and information" they use regularly.

The system works by making information available across a wide range of applications and devices.

Users must install Live Mesh software on each device that they use - regularly - whether a mobile phone or PC - then add folders to their "mesh".

Folders will then be automatically synchronised, and will also always be available, whether from the Internet or via the "Live Desktop" that the platform creates.

This comes with 5GB of free storage, and can be used from most web browsers.

Users can also allow access friends, family and colleagues access to their folders using the platform.

In fact, they can use Live Mesh to update documents, post comments, or send instant messages.

And the tool will also keep users posted as to when others are online, who has updated which files or folders, or posted and read comments.

Microsoft adds, however, that each mesh is password-protected and file transfers are protected using Secure Socket Layers (SSL) - which is the same technology some online banks use.

Live Mesh will initially be offered for Windows XP and Vista users, but will also be rolled out to Macs and other platforms in the future.