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BitTorrent takes on Dropbox with Sync sharing and backup service

BitTorrent Sync
BitTorrent Sync in action.BitTorrent

BitTorrent, the peer-to-peer service that many associate primarily with piracy, has unveiled Sync, a file backup and syncing service that has some similarities to Dropbox and other cloud storage apps. But it has an eye towards power users and privacy.

Cloud storage services take files you want backed up and store them securely on a server somewhere, from which they can be accessed with your other devices or copied automatically. There are a number of free ones, like Dropbox, SugarSync, and SkyDrive.

BitTorrent Sync is a little different. Instead of sending your file to a distant server, it simply makes it available via the BitTorrent network to any devices or computers you've authorized.

Got a big home movie file, too big for your 2-gigabyte cloud storage? Put it in Sync and it's sent via BitTorrent to any devices you've set up to stay synchronized, like the computer at your parents' house, or your smartphone.

Other services offer similar capabilities, but Sync will be totally free and totally independent of companies and other servers — no middle men means better privacy and no bandwidth or cost worries.

BitTorrent may be associated with piracy, but it's still just a protocol for sending things over the Internet, so you shouldn't have to worry about whether all that BitTorrent traffic will raise an eyebrow at your ISP.

Sync isn't available for use yet, but is being tested for release. You can try to become a tester for early access by signing up here, but it should get a real release in the next couple months.

Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBCNews Digital. His personal website is