Talking tech since 2003

BitTorrent has gone public with its new Sync service today, which can be described as cloud storage without the cloud. If that sounds at all confusing to you, don’t worry, we’ll explain.

bt-sync-logoWhen you think about cloud storage services, a number of big-name entries come to mind. There’s Dropbox, for starters. Google Drive is another. Microsoft has a product in the mix with SkyDrive. There are plenty of others, but the thing these products have in common is that they make it easy for you to access your files across multiple devices by keeping them stored on a third-party server.

BitTorrent Sync throws that model out the window, instead relying on all of your devices running the Sync app to serve up your files and folders when you need them. If you’re at all familiar with how BitTorrent works, Sync works in a similar way. When downloading a torrent, there is no central third-party server — instead, you are connecting to and downloading from other users who have the file.

With Sync, you won’t be accessing your own files from a Dropbox or Google server farm, but instead from one of your own devices that already has the file. Those devices are, in effect, seeding the file.

What makes Sync really interesting is the amount of security the company built into the service and its apps. Sync may use BitTorrent technology, but that doesn’t mean that any old user can connect to you and start downloading all of your files. For any user to access what you’re sharing, they’ll need a secret key. And BitTorrent built in special features that can force a key to expire after a certain amount of time — so even if someone does manage to get your key, it won’t work anymore.

It’ll be interesting to see what develops out of this new service. I am already envisioning highly exclusive torrenting communities popping up thanks to Sync, and with all of the security features and encryption, tracking the files that are being shared and downloaded will be next to impossible for outfits like the RIAA and MPAA.

Is BitTorrent Sync something you’d use or will you stick with services like Dropbox or Google Drive? Let us know what you think!

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