Call it Battle of the Sync Services: not to be outdone by Mega, Dropbox or any number of other platforms that allow users to synchronize files across multiple devices, BitTorrent has introduced BitTorrent Sync.
But the software, which automatically syncs files between computers, is only in a pre-Alpha stage of development. “We’re hoping that users like you can help us build something sick,” read a Jan. 24 note on the Official BitTorrent Blog. “If you’re comfortable using early, incomplete software, and if you’re committed to helping us figure out a better way to sync, we want to hear from you.”
The pre-Alpha program is open to a limited number of users, and the blog posting didn’t offer any guidance with regard to timing of a Beta release. Earlier this week, BitTorrent launched BitTorrent Labs, a Website for its Alpha projects that will lean heavily on crowdsourcing. “We’re inviting anyone (everyone) to experiment with these projects,” read the BitTorrent Blog’s posting about the launch. “And we’re inviting anyone (everyone) to build on them, and build their own.”
Several key things differentiate this offering from others on the market. For starters, there’s no storage limit. Second, it sidesteps storing files in the cloud, in favor of using peer-to-peer technology for direct synchronization. “It fits into our overall goal of making a better Internet using P2P,” BitTorrent Inc. told TorrentFreak.
The rise of Dropbox, iCloud, SkyDrive, Google Storage, and other storage and syncing services has sparked concern among IT administrators, who worry that employees using such services within an office environment could lead to security breaches. That pursuit of a suitable, secure alternative has led some companies to consider building an in-house alternative, relying on toolsets such as the one offered by SpiderOak.
While BitTorrent is popular, it’s synonymous in many minds with illegally downloading content such as movies and music; in light of that, it’s questionable whether many companies—including enterprises—will accept it as an employee tool. But many consumers could begin using it for their own syncing needs; at this early stage, it’s also impossible to tell whether the software will include security and features that make it wildly popular.