Hot on the heels of Kim Dotcom’s launch of Mega, Bittorrent has just kicked open the doors to its own digital locker service, to be known as Sync.
Sync is currently available as a pre-Alpha release, and a first look suggests that it aims to be the simplest possible way to “automatically share files between computers and devices via secure, distributed technology”, according to TorrentFreak. Given that it’s only a pre-Alpha program, Sync seems to be somewhat light on features at the moment, although from what Bittorrent’s blog post announcing the release suggests, the service will be honed and improved in the future based on user feedback.
Details are a little scarce at the moment, although we do know that Sync will use peer-to-peer technology to sync files between different devices without any cloud caching, whilst ensuring that all files are encrypted.
“We like it when things work together,” said BitTorrent in its blog. “So we’ve been working on a new distributed syncing product to help manage personal files between multiple computers.”
Looking at the screenshot provided by BitTorrent, the small cell phone icon in front of the ‘devices’ tab would seem to suggest that Sync works with mobile devices, although a BitTorrent spokesperson told GigaOM that it’s “too early to say when mobile will be in play, but BitTorrent is committed to mobile.”
One of the most interesting aspects of Sync is that no user data will be stored in the cloud:
“Data will be stored only on your computers. Sync will make sure it is synchronized across your devices. Data in transmit are encrypted with AES 256,” reports The Inquirer.
It’s not clear when BitTorrent Sync will be made available to all, but the possibility of it emerging as a genuine threat to Dotcom’s Mega or even Dropbox cannot be discounted at this stage. While Mega boasted of signing up more than a million users in its first 24 hours, this did little to disguise how ‘crappy’ the service was when it first launched. And while Mega’s big sell is its fancy high level of encryption (a matter of debate, by the way), BitTorrent has a huge advantage that Dotcom doesn’t have – namely, speed. BitTorrent being what it is, is quite simply the only way to download large files off the net if you need them in a hurry.
For now, the service will only be available to a limited number of users as a field test. Those interested in checking the service out can apply online and wait to see if they’re sent an invite.