I noticed a post on GigaOm this morning about BitTorrent Sync. I had checked it out some 12-18 months ago when it first came out, but it has moved a ton forwards since then and deserves a little more attention.
The file sharing and storage space competition has increased dramatically in the recent years as Google and Microsoft have entered the game to add alternatives to Dropbox and Box. Dropbox has since announced it is diversifying its offering and moving to innovate in the space of productivity apps, with the launch of Mailbox and likes. This is the clearest form of competition and acknowledgement that they need to re-innovate themselves or the industry will commoditize itself with a race to the bottom.
BitTorrent is known for its less legal use cases and is usually connected with illegal file sharing. However, the technology behind it is phenomenal and greatly improves the usability of internet infrastructure in general. Files are not downloaded from a single node, but a network of computers sharing the files amongst themselves.
This same technology has been put to use with BitTorrent Sync, a file sharing service that individuals and companies can use – free of charge. The technology is the same – your files are shared between the network of computers you have chosen to share them with. Therefore, there is no single server that needs to push it out and keep all the versions in sync.
In addition to faster downloads and synchronisation, BitTorrent Sync allows encryption and you can use private keys, either read-only or read-write, to share folders between computers. The application on Mac OSX is super fresh and incredibly beautiful (at least to my liking).
The setup also works ideally for me as I have an old Mac Mini at home serving the function of a media centre. It’s online 24/7 and also functions as an external hard drive I can connect to. It further syncs and saves its contents to AWS Glacier through Arq.
I installed BitTorrent Sync in about 5 minutes to all my three computers and syncing was on its way. A couple of hours later I had almost 6GB of data synced across my three devices. It’s incredibly fast as it doesn’t have to pass long distances either.
I was previously on an OwnCloud installation on my server at UpCloud, but OwnCloud disliked .htaccess files and some other types as well. OwnCloud was a little slower as well, not crucially, but it did add up a little.
I’m incredibly happy with BitTorrent Sync so far and I wish them all the best in their development going forward. It’s a great show of talent and I’m excited to see what future holds for them.
In addition, I believe they’ve also shown the world that initial uses of technology (which almost always are border line illegal as there seldom is legal jurisdiction in place for pioneers) should not be judged how they are initially used. BitTorrent is a great internet infrastructure technology that definitely deserves more kudos.