BitTorrent takes on Dropbox with personal file sharing


BitTorrent Inc. launched a personal file sharing application called Share Thursday that aims to give users an alternative to paid cloud storage companies and media sharing over social networks. Share makes it possible to transfer files without any size limits to an unlimited number of personal contacts. Files are cached in the cloud, so users don’t have to be online at the same time to complete transfers.

On Wednesday, BitTorrent Chief Strategist Shahi Ghanem told me the company is relying on Amazon’s EC2 and S3 services to provide this kind of caching infrastructure. Files are taken off the cloud as soon as they are sufficiently shared by peers. The app will initially be Windows-only, but Mac users will be able to download an alpha version of the company’s µTorrent client that will offer them the same kind of personal file sharing functionality. Future Windows versions of µTorrent will also offer Share functionality.

BitTorrent's new Share app.

BitTorrent isn’t the first company to try to combine P2P and personal media sharing. Companies like Pando have long offered personal file transfers, but typically limit the size of files that can be transferred to manage hosting costs. Others like Podmailing were more aggressive, but eventually had to shut down due to exploding hosting costs.

Ghanem told me BitTorrent plans to avoid this kind of fate by building out its own P2P-powered personal cloud storage system. The system isn’t up and running yet, but the idea is that users will receive free storage for their files by sharing some hard drive space and bandwidth with other users.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Carlos Maya.

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