Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft Skydrive and Mega are just a few examples of the many file-storage and backup services that are available today.
All these services rely on external cloud based hosting to back up and store files. This means that you have to trust these companies with your personal and confidential files, and that your storage space is limited.
For those people who want to be in control of their own data there haven’t been many alternatives, but BitTorrent Sync has the potential to trigger a small revolution on this front.
BitTorrent Sync’s functionality is comparable to services such as Dropbox and Skydrive, except for the fact that there’s no cloud involved. Users sync the files between their own computers and no third-party has access to it.
Besides increased security, BitTorrent sync transfers also tend to go a lot faster than competing cloud services. Another advantage is that there are no storage or transfer limits, so users can sync as many files as they want, for free.
Earlier this year BitTorrent started a closed Alpha test with a limited number of users, and today Sync is being released to the public for the first time.
“We’re really excited about opening up this Alpha. The feedback has been universally positive. Those in the closed Alpha have already synced more than 200TB since we started the program,” BitTorrent announces.
Over the past weeks many improvements have been made to the Sync application, prompted by user feedback. Among other things it is now possible to allow one-way synchronization and to exclude files or directories from being shared.
While Sync uses BitTorrent technology, people’s files are not accessible to outsiders. Only those who have the unique private key can access the shared folder.
“All the traffic is encrypted using a private key derived from the shared secret. Your files can be viewed and received only by the people with whom you share your private secret,” BitTorrent explains.
To increase security, the latest Sync version also has the option to let the secret key expire after a day so new devices can’t be added, even if outsiders have the private key.
BitTorrent stresses that Sync is still in Alpha development but tests carried out by TorrentFreak confirm that it works very well. It is an ideal tool for people who want to share large amounts of data between computers without going through third-party services.
The application is also surprisingly easy to configure. There’s no need to create an account and it only takes a few clicks to get going.
The Sync application is available for Windows, OSX, Linux and has the ability run on NAS devices through a web-interface. Readers who are interested in giving it a spin can head over to BitTorrent labs, where the Sync app can be downloaded.