Saturday, July 20, 2013

Brought to you by the makers of Bittorrent, It's Bittorrent Sync!

I am a huge fan of cloud storage ever since I downloaded Dropbox for the first time and realized the power and efficiency of having access to critical files everywhere across all devices.  In addition to storing all of my mobile-phone camera snaps, my wife and I also use it to maintain a shared finance folder for things like tax info, important receipts, etc.  Dropbox is mission critical for me, and it's the first thing I install when I setup a new phone or tablet.

Since 2007, when Dropbox was a relative loner in the cloudsync game, many other competitors have sprung up and a few are quite good.  I personally use Evernote, Google Drive, Bitcasa, and Mega.  Why would any human being need five different cloudsync services?  Well, my needs have changed over time and each service has different strengths and weaknesses.  Evernote has great tagging and search features, but it's focus is primarily on note-taking.  Google Drive does OCR and has a document editor, but there is no linux client.  Dropbox (where I keep EVERYTHING) has a client for any and every conceivable device, but their troubling security terms and conditions have left me uneasy about my privacy.  And so on.  Recently, I have flirted with Mega because of their user-enforced encryption scheme, but their lack of a linux client is a non-starter for me.  A few days ago, a new service caught my eye, and I am intrigued largely because it turns the cloud storage paradigm on its head.

Bittorrent Sync is currently in beta, but it is wildly popular within the underground tech community.  Here's the catch: there are no cloud servers to deal with.  Files are synced between devices (desktop, laptop, mobile, home-servers, etc) via encrypted bittorrent transfers.


I had to read the description of the service a few times in order to wrap my brain around it, but it seems like an interesting solution to the "access your files anywhere" problem.  Encrypted transfers, no external servers (and zero cost), and since you're distributing the files across multiple devices, there is little risk that you will lose all your files if a single device fails.  It also supports all platforms, including mobile (android).  I'm not sure what the mobile experience looks like.  Nor am I certain that I want bittorrent running in the background on my phone all the time (guzzling my precious battery life) or using up all of the local storage space for my files (Dropbox downloads on demand on Android, along with some caching).  For now, though, I am reserving judgment.  I will be testing this out next week and doing a full review soon. Stay tuned!!!
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