Storing your files in a virtual 'pile' on your hard drive has become something of a sign that you act in bad taste. In modern day and age you don't need to litter your own hardware, since the endless abyss of the Internet is at your service. And, as with all the things on the net, there are mainstream players and lesser, but not inferior, alternatives.
BitTorrent Sync was not really intended as an alternative to existing cloud-based file synchronization services, but it can serve as exactly that and even better. It does its job using the BitTorrent client, and instead of a "cloud", the actual files are stored on a local device belonging to a specific user, which makes storage more personal, and therefore, more safe, if you are willing to overlook the human factor.
Also, BitTorrent Sync uses local networks to speed up the transfer and avoid the long wait for cloud services to transfer the data. It only needs to transfer the fragments of files that were in any way changed, instead of taking it all and stockpiling every file over and over again. Nevertheless, there is no limit to the size of your transfer - gigabytes, terabytes, any size you want or need.
There is also the issue of privacy. Cloud services have proven to be unsafe for people wishing to maintain their confidentiality. Such a thing is hardly possible with peer-to-peer transfers with BitTorrent. No one can connect you to the files shared vie BitTorrent Synch in true Internet fashion. It also makes the system harder to hack, since there are no main servers storing all the data of its users.
But how does that work, exactly?
First, you install the software and sign in with your very own personal identification created with PKI infrastructure, instead of giving your e-mail and creating a password. Your identification gives you access to files and folders, allows you to connect with other devices in the system and use the Synch.
Then you can create folders, synchronize their contents, and share them the way you see fit. You can either send HTTP link or a QR code to share your folder.
All the devices that have access to your folder and the data in it become peers after being identified by BitTorrent Sync. There are several ways to do that: either by registering on a special tracker server or searching for a particular relay IP. This can be a bit of a problem, especially if you don't know the first thing about such procedures. But with a little bit of luck and research you can tailor your connection to your needs.
After peer-to-peer connection has been established, a scan is performed to define whether or not the contents of the folders need to be synchronized. The contents are compared between peers and the necessity of update is decided for each device. After that, the required files are ready for download. Since there are no central hubs for file transfer, downloading and seeding your files is quicker and easier with BitTorrent Sync. BitTorrent protocol allows separating files into smaller fragments that can be received simultaneously from several peer sources. The more peers there are in the exchange, the faster is the download.
When data transfer is over, all the contents are synchronized, and constant checks for updates are performed in order to maintain full synchronization between peers. All the files are replaced by their newest versions available from any device in the system, and older versions are stored in the archive.
In short, this system allows you to share and take your share. Files are given and taken fast and safe between Internet users around the world without bothering with extensive server access and registration procedures.
Another advantage of BitTorrent Sync is that it is available on every general platform there is. You can get it for Windows, Mac, Android, Kindle, and probably anything else.
And, of course, you may not even need the Internet, since local networks are as good for peer-to-peer exchange as ever.
Another safety feature is your control over access to specific folders, data storage time, access on demand, and name of the owner of a specific folder, for example.
Of course, you will have to pay for all the features presented. The free version of this software only gives you high speed connection, limitless storage space, and secure user-to-user transfers. But if you really want to have it all (limitless folders, access rights, commercial license etc.), you will have to buy the pro version.
But whatever the choice, it's a useful thing if you decide to give yourself over to virtual reality some more. It's not demanding, it's easy, and it makes your life at least a little easier.