BitTorrent is working on a personal file syncing app to compete with Dropbox

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BitTorrent Inc. is working on an application called Sync that uses P2P technology to sync your files between your devices. The company announced the pre-Alpha test of Sync on its blog Thursday, where it also highlighted the launch of its new BitTorrent Labs website that offers additional details about this and other projects it is working on.

A first screenshot of a pre-Alpha version of BitTorrent's Sync app.

A first screenshot of a pre-Alpha version of BitTorrent’s Sync app.

The announcement blog post is somewhat scarce on details, but here’s what I’ve been told by the company: Sync will enable direct synchronization between your machines without any cloud caching. File transfers will be protected via 256 bit AES encryption. There are native apps for Mac OS, Windows and Linux, as well as a native NAS integration.

The post doesn’t mention mobile devices, but a screenshot provided by BitTorrent shows a device icon that clearly features a mobile phone — so it wouldn’t be too surprising to see syncing to phones and tablets at some point as well. I asked BitTorrent about this, and a company spokesperson sent me a somewhat vague answer: “It may be too early to say when mobile will be in play, but BitTorrent is committed to mobile across the board.”

Users who want to find out more can sign up for the Sync Alpha test online.

BitTorrent has been rolling out a number of new projects and experiments lately, including the Chrome extension BitTorrent Surf that enables Chrome users to download torrents from within their browsers, the Facebook file sharing app Beam It Over and the Javascript BitTorrent platform Torque. On Thursday, the company launched a Labs section on its website that is dedicated to all kinds of things that aren’t quite ready to become mainstream consumer products. “We call it our test kitchen. Our playground,” the Lab announcement blog post read.

BitTorrent’s new Sync is going to compete with a number of established players. File syncing has been a key functionality of cloud storage providers like Dropbox and Sugarsync, and big players like Google and Amazon also offer syncing as part of their consumer cloud storage solutions.

BitTorrent’s advantage is that it has an impressive app distribution reach. The company has more than 170 million active users for its BitTorrent and uTorrent clients. If it can convince just a fraction of those to try out Sync, then it might actually have a chance.

Image courtesy of Flickr user . VJ Fungo.

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