BitTorrent Sync gaining major traction as peer-to-peer alternative to Dropbox

A month after releasing full set of server-less file sync APIs, free BitTorrent Sync service user base doubled to 2 million users

If you care about data privacy and don't particularly want your shared files to sit on penetrable server, BitTorrent Sync fills the bill. Since BitTorrent released a full set of APIs and an optimized iPad-specific app a month ago, the number of active Sync users has doubled to 2 million, and the average usage has hit 20GB per person.

"Without question, concerns about the vulnerability of the cloud have been a contributing factor. The revelations of NSA abuses and dragnet data collection combined with our own awareness campaign for Sync have helped drive adoption," a BitTorrent spokesperson said. "But speed, simplicity, and cost savings have also been major contributing factors to rapid adoption of BitTorrent Sync."

(BitTorrent is a privately held company that keeps the protocol going. It also develops and maintains uTorrent and the original BitTorrent Mainline program.)

BitTorrent wants to expand beyond its roots as a general file-sharing protocol/program and open up the torrent schtick to programmers of all stripes. The native Android, iOS, and iPad-specific apps transfer files between specific users. The API brings that capability to any app, on any platform. And it's done in traditional peer-to-peer fashion, with no central server, no single point to snoop, with encrypted packets bouncing around the cloud.

That makes BitTorrent Sync data much harder to find -- much less crack -- than Dropbox, iCloud, or SkyDrive. By eliminating the server in the middle, BitTorrent Sync also has the potential to run much faster than server-based services. BitTorrent claims that Sync runs at speeds of up to 90MBps on wired LANs.

For now the beta -- including Android and iOS applications and full use of the APIs -- is free. The folks at BitTorrent assure me, "The basic service as available now will always be free, but applications that may require custom features, such as enterprise, will likely be our focus for monetization."

This story, "BitTorrent Sync gaining major traction as peer-to-peer alternative to Dropbox," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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