BitTorrent Sync is an immensely useful application that uses the torrent protocol to securely synchronize files across PCs and mobile devices. The program has been in the “beta” stage for awhile now, but BitTorrent Labs is preparing to drop the “beta” tag with the introduction of Sync 2.0 as well as a new paid-for premium version dubbed Sync Pro.
BitTorrent Labs will be spinning Sync off into three main products, Sync 2.0, an enterprise file replication program, and a cross platform mobile-to-mobile file transfer app.
According to the developers, Sync’s capabilities have rapidly expanded beyond simple file transfer. Sync 2.0 will continue in the same vein as the current application, adding new functionality on top of the existing free Sync 1.4 code base. Sync Pro will be a paid for version that will unlock additional features including selective file sync (a feature that Microsoft is planning to remove from OneDrive), granular ownership and file permissions (along with revocation) for shared folders, and synchronization between desktop and mobile governed by new private identities that will associate all of your devices and simplify syncing.
Sync Pro will allow more granular control over file ownership along with selective file sync.
The free version of Sync (Sync 2.0) will retain all of the functionality of the current version with some improvements and bug fixes. From there, users will be able to upgrade to Sync Pro for $39.99 per user, per year. Users will create an identity that will allow Sync Pro to be activated on all of their devices and will associate all of their devices (from which users can direct which files/folders should be synced to each device). BitTorrent Labs claims the identities are offline and private though they did not provide specifics on payment options and related privacy implications of the new premium license model and identity system.
Sync File Replication is a niche tool aimed at IT administrators that will allow business users to replicate out files and folders across thousands of devices and monitor and manage all of the associated sync operations. The program uses the Sync engine but is tooled to scale to hundreds or thousands of devices. The developers claims to have achieved a full synchronization to 1,000 PCs in under one minute in their test environment.
Additionally, BitTorrent Labs is bringing back the mobile-to-mobile file transfer feature that some may remember from earlier versions of the Sync app for mobile devices. The new Sync Mobile Large File Transfer application is being spun off into its own, separate, mobile app. It will be cross platform (iOS, Android, et al) and will allow users to send and receive files without including a PC in the sync group.
The introduction of a paid version is a new, but not suprising twist considering its popularity and usefulness. The talk of Sync going open source appears to be merely talk, however as BitTorrent Labs looks to profit off Sync (they could still go with a licensed open source model but I feel like if they were going to do that, it would have been one of the touted features and new directions for Sync 2.0). I would have liked to see Sync go open source (if only for a full security audit) but even closed source I will likely continue using it as it is a useful and easy to use program.
You can sign up for more information on Sync 2.0 (and when it will be available for download) on this web page. Further, this forum thread provides some much needed clarifications to their previous announcement.