Cloud-based storage services like Dropbox and Mega just got some fresh competition from an unexpected source. The folks at BitTorrent have announced Sync, a private sharing service that allows files and folders to be synchronized across multiple devices. The cloud, in this case, is one of your own creation. Files reside on the synced devices and are transferred via the BitTorrent protocol.
Although the official announcement is short on details, GigaOM has confirmed that Sync will encrypt all file transfers with a 256-bit AES algorithm. Native apps will reportedly be available for not only Windows, OS X, and Linux, but also NAS devices. Support for mobile devices is supposedly in the cards, as well. GigaOM was told that "BitTorrent is committed to mobile across the board."
BitTorrent Sync seems to be at a very early stage of development, and you can apply to be a part of the closed pre-alpha test here. The sign-up page resides on a new BitTorrent Labs site that includes details on other "featured experiments," including a distributed video streaming technology dubbed Live, a Chrome-based BitTorrent client called Surf, and a Facebook file sharing app known as Beam it Over.
While Sync certainly isn't the first private file sharing—er, syncing—service, the ability to roll your own encrypted BitTorrent cloud has definite appeal. Sync should be available free of charge, and its capacity will be limited only by the amount of storage on the host system. Whether the software is good enough to simplify file sharing for the masses remains to be seen, however.