Subject: General Tech | December 13, 2014 - 02:03 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: file sync, folder sync, bittorrent sync
BitTorrent Sync is an immensely useful application that uses the torrent protocol to securely synchronize files across PCs and mobile devices. The program has been in the “beta” stage for awhile now, but BitTorrent Labs is preparing to drop the “beta” tag with the introduction of Sync 2.0 as well as a new paid-for premium version dubbed Sync Pro.
BitTorrent Labs will be spinning Sync off into three main products, Sync 2.0, an enterprise file replication program, and a cross platform mobile-to-mobile file transfer app.
According to the developers, Sync’s capabilities have rapidly expanded beyond simple file transfer. Sync 2.0 will continue in the same vein as the current application, adding new functionality on top of the existing free Sync 1.4 code base. Sync Pro will be a paid for version that will unlock additional features including selective file sync (a feature that Microsoft is planning to remove from OneDrive), granular ownership and file permissions (along with revocation) for shared folders, and synchronization between desktop and mobile governed by new private identities that will associate all of your devices and simplify syncing.
Sync Pro will allow more granular control over file ownership along with selective file sync.
The free version of Sync (Sync 2.0) will retain all of the functionality of the current version with some improvements and bug fixes. From there, users will be able to upgrade to Sync Pro for $39.99 per user, per year. Users will create an identity that will allow Sync Pro to be activated on all of their devices and will associate all of their devices (from which users can direct which files/folders should be synced to each device). BitTorrent Labs claims the identities are offline and private though they did not provide specifics on payment options and related privacy implications of the new premium license model and identity system.
Sync File Replication is a niche tool aimed at IT administrators that will allow business users to replicate out files and folders across thousands of devices and monitor and manage all of the associated sync operations. The program uses the Sync engine but is tooled to scale to hundreds or thousands of devices. The developers claims to have achieved a full synchronization to 1,000 PCs in under one minute in their test environment.
Additionally, BitTorrent Labs is bringing back the mobile-to-mobile file transfer feature that some may remember from earlier versions of the Sync app for mobile devices. The new Sync Mobile Large File Transfer application is being spun off into its own, separate, mobile app. It will be cross platform (iOS, Android, et al) and will allow users to send and receive files without including a PC in the sync group.
The introduction of a paid version is a new, but not suprising twist considering its popularity and usefulness. The talk of Sync going open source appears to be merely talk, however as BitTorrent Labs looks to profit off Sync (they could still go with a licensed open source model but I feel like if they were going to do that, it would have been one of the touted features and new directions for Sync 2.0). I would have liked to see Sync go open source (if only for a full security audit) but even closed source I will likely continue using it as it is a useful and easy to use program.
You can sign up for more information on Sync 2.0 (and when it will be available for download) on this web page. Further, this forum thread provides some much needed clarifications to their previous announcement.
Subject: General Tech | April 24, 2013 - 05:17 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: torrent, sync, p2p, folder sync, file sync, cloud storage, bittorrent
BitTorrent took the wraps off of its Sync application yesterday. The new Sync service uses the BitTorrent P2P protocol to sync encrypted files across all of your devices. It is a service that I have been wanting to see for a long time now, in fact, which was why I was ecstatic when I found out about the BitTorrent Labs program. I managed to get into the private alpha a couple of weeks ago, and have been testing it ever since. Being in an alpha state, it is still a bit rough around the edges but it shows promise and while I encourage everyone to read the full review for more details, I think it is something I can at least recommend that you should try out!
BitTorrent Sync creates a folder in your home/user folder called SyncApp, and any files or folders that you place in that folder are synced across your devices. Additionally, you can choose existing folders to sync outside of the default SyncApp folder, which is really nice.
The encryption is a bit complicated, but you are given a secret code (decryption key) when you choose to sync a folder, and you need to enter this code on any devices you want to sync. One cool feature of this setup is that you can also generate secret codes that allow temporary and/or permanent read-only access. The master code will allow read and write access, and temporary codes can also be given write access, which would be good to share files for a limited time when collaborating on a project. Even better, the Sync application will allow you to use a custom (base64 encoded) key that is longer than 40 characters if you feel the default keys are not long/secure enough.
The BitTorrent Sync app for Windows--The SyncApp folder is the folder it syncs by default.
The application will sync over WAN or LAN, with a preferrence towards syncing with computers on the same local network. Changes and file syncs are initiated almost instantly, though the actual transfer speed will depend on your network connections.
It is a free app that allows you to sync as many files and folders as you want securely, and it's worh a look in my opinion. Combined with a VPS that allows P2P applications (Backupsy is one that will make an exception for Sync users), you can create your own Dropbox-like sync solution without those pesky file size limits. (Though, currently, you would be missing out on Dropbox's versioning functionality. I hope to see that remedied in future releases.)
You can find more information as well as download links for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux versions of Sync on the BitTorrent Labs website.
Yes, you may be able to tell from this post that I'm excited about Sync--I am. I'm glad someone that can actually code (as in, not me) has finally put together a program that I've been wanting for a long time, and that it generally works well from what I've been able to test so far. It's just my opinion though, if you do try it out let me know what you think of Sync!