Filed under: Announcements & Events, Digital Media, Mobile Phones, P2P technology, File-Sharing Programs, Networks & Services
Two weeks after Sync Alpha has officially been launched, BitTorrent’s piece of software is proud to announce that people used it extensively, sharing and organizing an impressive amount of data – 1PB.
If you don’t know yet what BitTorrent Sync is, feel free to check our previous article on the subject here. In short, Sync Alpha is a highly secure file syncing/managing service that’s similar to Dropbox, except one thing: it uses peer-to-peer technology, thus having no need of a “cloud”. The advantages are countless. On one hand, there is no limit to the files you share and or sync, on the other, the downloading and uploading speeds are only limited by your bandwidth. Did we mention it’s free? It’s FREE!
Leaving enthusiasm aside for a moment, we find that Sync Alpha has been a great success, accounting for an astonishing amount of data – 1 Petabyte (that’s 1000 TB). To that, BitTorrent Inc. said:
“To put that into context, the Internet Archive, one of the world wide web’s largest repositories of media, houses 10 petabytes of data. Sync is massive. And it’s growing. Over 70 terabytes of anonymous data are synced daily.”
“Sync was built for secure sharing. While we have general statistics about the app, we don’t have any access to private information,” the company assured its users.
“The client reports back anonymous usage statistics in the same way our other clients do. Sync uses this call to check if there’s a new build available. This call also contains some anonymous statistics that allow us to understand how Sync performs, and how it’s being used; data transferred directly, through relay, size of folders, and number of files synced.”
“This is the only information we collect, and we left it open intentionally – so that people could see the data we’re collecting. That way, it can be easily verified that we don’t have access to any private information,” BitTorrent concluded.
Sync’s huge success was not foreseen, but somewhat expected. Signs of becoming one huge piece of software that will go head to head with other established services were obvious. For example, ever since BT Inc. announced their plans to launch a syncing service at the beginning of this year and until April the 23rd when Sync Alpha was officially released, people synced over 200TB of data.
Thirteen days later and one hell of a job from BitTorrent’s development team and from those who helped along, and users added another 800TB worth of data.
“BitTorrent Sync was designed to solve for what we see as real, fundamental challenges to data synchronization: limitations on speed, size, and space; limitations on file security and dependency on cloud infrastructure. Because BitTorrent Sync is based on distributed technology, you can sync as many big files as you want. Transfers are encrypted, and information isn’t stored on any server, or in the cloud. Your content belongs to you, and stays on devices of your choice. That’s the way syncing should work,” BitTorrent wrote.
BitTorrent Sync is compatible with Mac OS X (Snow Leopard or later), Windows, and Linux. Additional information can be found here.
“You can install our application on Network Attached Storages (NAS) running on Linux with ARM, PowerPC, i386 and x86_64 architecture,” Sync’s official webpage reads.
“In the future, we plan to also support most popular mobile platforms.”
Filed under: Announcements & Events, Digital Media, Mobile Phones, P2P technology, Downloads, Entertainment Industry, File-Sharing Programs, Networks & Services, Movies, MP3, Digital Audio & Games
BitTorrent Inc. is once again proving that its intentions to legitimize peer-to-peer are genuine. Yesterday, the company announced the workings on a brand new project called “BitTorrent Bundle”, a place for people to access a completely changed .torrent format (one that includes free content), and for content creators to promote and make money out of their creations. Interested? Keep reading…because it gets better.
It’s the season of innovation, and BitTorrent Inc. is rolling one project after the other, all for the sake of not just their community, but also for the entertainment industry. Out of their attempts to push the peer-to-peer technology towards legitimacy, Bundle Alpha was born, a web-based project that aims to unite the two sides into a buffer zone by providing with a different type of torrent, while promoting and selling for artists.
The Bundle Alpha has already been put to the test; the file-sharing company shook hands with a popular music label called “Ultra” (a platform for artists such as David Guetta, DJ Tiesto, deadmau5, and Calvin Harris). The two offered a torrent bundle that contains behind-the-scenes music, videos, and a “digital tour booklet” from Kaskade (an established electronic music band).
“The strategy here is to give content creators the tools to publish into the ecosystem on their own,” BitTorrent’s director of communications, Christian Averill, said.
“We’re creating a new kind of torrent, the gated torrent, and the idea is that this will be pervasive once it gets out there.”
Yesterday, BitTorrent’s official blog made public its goal to provide “a distributed technology solution for creators…. Our goal is to move the interaction to where it matters, making it a property of the file versus the distribution framework (and) giving artists real data about — and real access to — their fans.”
And speaking of fans, BitTorrent’s community is, the least to say, impressive (more than 170 million users from all over the world), a figure that consists not just of pirates, but also people who are willing to find and pay for content. Legal content, that is.
“Many people don’t realize that we have over 2 million pieces of licensed and legal content available in our ecosystem,” Matt Mason said.
“It is true that our technology is exploited as part of a stack of technologies used for piracy. But you’ll find that as a standalone tool we are not a very good piracy tool. We don’t rip CDs or capture movies on camcorders. We don’t host content that infringes on copyright, we don’t index it, point to it or promote it in any way. All of those things happen outside of BitTorrent.”
A look under the Bundle’s hood reveals that the platform works about the same as uTorrent or the BitTorrent client (technically speaking). However, if you look deeper, Bundle is not just a web-based file-sharing platform, but also a bridge towards legal/premium content. How you manage that content is entirely up to you and the content creator. For example, in Kaskade’s case, you will be required to provide with an e-mail address. The alternatives include pay gates, external links towards services such as Netflix or iTunes, and pay-for-what-you-need “gates”.
Simply put, the Bundle offers more power for content creators and rightsholders to promote, control, and sell their works.
It seems that BitTorrent’s past efforts to go legit, and collaborations with artists such as Vikram Gandhi, Stacy Peralta, Tim Ferriss, Death Grips, and Counting Crows (these are just few of the names that came across BT and shook hands with the “devil”) are finally taking shape .
“When we learned that the BitTorrent protocol is used by over 170 million users, all of whom are avid consumers of entertainment and music and whom purchase 30 percent more of that content than average, we knew we wanted to reach out to them and engage them in our indie film,”Jill Calcaterra – Chief Marketing Officer at BitTorrent – said.
“This was an opportunity to engage a huge fanbase from the onset by giving them something unique and exclusive early on, with the hopes that in return they will support the film [Arthur Newman] through its lifecycle. Being an indie, I think we are more nimble than most and more willing to try and pilot new programs. The entertainment business is moving at a remarkable pace and we want to keep up and stay in front of opportunities.”
She continued by saying that the promotion was a complete success, gathering “hundreds of thousands of downloads” in just 24 hours (the first seven minutes of the movie were made available on BT’s networks).
“We are also tracking the redirects to our website, monitoring social media and the overall conversation around the film, all of which is up since we launched with BitTorrent,” she added.
All good, but this is the beginning of a long road BT will have to undertake in order to enter the golden realm of legitimacy.
“We find that once we do sit down and talk, there is a better understanding of how to work together,” Matt Mason explained.
“No other medium offers as good of a way for content creators to engage directly with their fans in a way that BitTorrent can,” he concluded.
You can download Kaskade’s bundle here.
Filed under: Announcements & Events, File-Sharing Programs, Networks & Services
Welcome to The Deleted City – a digital archaeology of the world wide web as it emerged into the 21st century. How far are we from that early perspective of the web as a giant digital library open to anyone and which anyone can help grow by creating home-page?
From the BitTorrent blog:
One of the really interesting uses for BitTorrent is archiving content. If a few people think a thing is important enough to keep seeding it, it will always be available to anyone who wants it. The people who are seeding can come and go. As long as there’s one person who’s holding a copy, it will be both preserved and made available. Thanks to nonprofits like ibiblio and the Internet Archive, we have the beginnings of serious perma-seeding infrastructure.
Webhosts come and webhosts go, but BitTorrent can be forever. A great example of that is the Archive Team’s torrent of all of Geocities (650GB compressed!). When Yahoo announced they were shutting down Geocities, Archive Team kicked into gear and saved the site for posterity. Geocities is a photo album of the web’s growth, starting when it was a toddler just learning to walk and going through to its awkward early teenage years. It’s a crucial part of the heritage of early “Digital Natives” (myself included), and an invaluable resource for people studying the way people and cultures acclimatized to the new model of the world we all live in.
It’s also a great resource for art. A favorite project of mine was “The Deleted City,” which took viewers on a little tour of the Geocities archive on a video monitor. The artist behind it has released a follow-up piece, making it an interactive tour.
“The Deleted City” is an artifact of the enabling power of BitTorrent as a decentralized storage/dissemination tool. It’s also really neat, and rather nostalgic for those of us who remember those very MIDIs. (This is from a world before MP3s were ubiquitous, if you can imagine that.)
Filed under: Announcements & Events, File-Sharing Programs, Networks & Services
BitTorrent has been quite busy over the last months trying to promote its image detached from that related to illegal filesharing and to consolidate its role and potential as a distribution platform able to propel artists, content and business. The decentralized, file-sharing protocol the company created truly changed for good the way large size data is transferred over the internet and now from partnerships with film distributors and artists to maybe implementing its tool even to ISPs, BitTorrent is clearly here to stay and affect the digital scene furthermore.
The company that developed the most popular p2p filesharing client is pretty confident about its future and has all the reasons to do so. We recently reported that BitTorrent surpassed a new milestone - 20 million mobile downloads with its Android, iOS, and Windows Phone apps and scored another hit with BitTorrent Sync – a fast, secure, and easy to use app that lets users sync their files and transfer large amounts of data between various devices.
In a recent interview with Motherboard which will reproduce here, Matt Mason, BitTorrent’s Executive Director of Marketing and Content (who has an inspirational background as pirate radio DJ and authored The Pirates’ Dilemma), talks about the company’s future plans and the efforts to further establish its legitimacy:
MOTHERBOARD: You guys have a weird problem as a brand. On the one hand you’re BitTorrent—and all sorts of pirate internet traffic is often called BitTorrent, by people who don’t distinguish between you guys as a company and your own technology. On the other hand…
Matt Mason: Yeah, it’s weird, I’ve been at BitTorrent for just over a year and I didn’t think things would change as quickly as they have. But one other good social stat that I saw last week was that we’re now, if you look at all of the conversation in the last week about BitTorrent, it’s now like 97% positive. Which is insane.
How do you gauge positivity?
Positivity for us is when people aren’t talking about BitTorrent as a pirating tool, but rather they’re talking about it as a technology. Or as a place where they found something awesome. We have a huge data science team at BitTorrent. And we really drill down into that stuff. It’s weird, it’s becoming one of the coolest brands in the world, that’s why I joined. People look at BitTorrent, like, “Yeah, those guys are fucked. Hollywood hates them.” But Hollywood is trying to work with us more and more; even though a lot of people are still very scared of us.
I can imagine. And it makes sense given what your technology is capable of. Let’s talk about BitTorrent’s livestreaming technology: BitTorrent Live. It’s meant to be impervious to traffic overload?
Yeah, completely. We don’t look at like Ustream and Livestream as competition; they should be using our protocol too. It would save them millions and millions of dollars. We looked at BitTorrent Live as a really good, positive thing to build for society. So Bram Cohen, who invented the BitTorrent protocol, invented BitTorrent Live. He spent about five years working on it. The reason we’ve taken such a long time to release it is because it’s like a nuclear technology. On the one hand, commercially, it’s amazing. You could stream a Superbowl game for zero dollars. That’s cool.
Yeah, and kind of funny.
And scary, right? If you’re ESPN, and BitTorrent and ESPN work together, it’s awesome for ESPN. They just saved a ton of money.
But if you just release it out of nowhere…
If I jack ESPN’s feed and I start streaming the Superbowl to twenty million people and selling ads around it—that’s not great for ESPN.
And pirate streams already exist. They’re just really blurry and prone to overloading. But whenever your technology does get released, people are going to figure out how to use it for piracy. Right?
That’s why we’ve taken five years to release it. Bram’s whole thing was, “I don’t just want to throw it out there, because I did that with BitTorrent.” And you know, the benefits of BitTorrent definitely outweigh the costs, but he’s like: “Let’s do this the right way.” And that’s what we’re doing. So we’ve had it in a closed beta for the last three months. We had like 50 broadcasters using it 24/7, just to fix bugs and test whether or not it actually works, and the scale. And it does. So we opened the beta in March.
But really though, despite how long it’ll take to put it out, when it’s out there people are going to be able to harness it to pirate streams, no?
Well, it is not open source and we will be able to shut things down under the DMCA process. So we didn’t do what we did with BitTorrent.
BitTorrent is like the Wild West.
BitTorrent is completely open source. It’s literally an open source protocol, a way of doing things. We could shut down BitTorrent inc. tomorrow. BitTorrent would still very likely be the way people are moving large files in ten years time. Like, it’s just a way of doing things that so deeply ingrained in the internet now, that it’s just there.
It reminds me of SETI@Home–the screensaver designed to track down real aliens. Distributed computing is only now reaching a more mainstream awareness. Sony just started shipping Playstation 3s with that cancer cell research tool. But distributed computing has so much more potential.
There’s people using BitTorrent for cancer research in Silicon Valley. The reason Bram invented BitTorrent was that he realized hypertext was not the thing we’re going to be moving large amounts of data with. HTTP is the wrong protocol for the internet. It’s great, but we need something else to do large media because that’s where we’re going to be moving in ten years.
So you’re saying Bittorrent will become bigger than hypertext?
Oh it already has. We’re already bigger than HTTP in terms of sheer data. Don’t think we’re trying to replace it. We need pictures and words as well; it’s part of the technology. But we’re there too, right? So during the first ten years it was, “BitTorrent is piracy.” It’s bad because the only people who figured it out, predominantly wanted to set up piracy websites. It wasn’t us, it’s not us, it’s not what we do. There’s 120 of us in San Francisco, all we’re doing is figuring out how BitTorrent fits in with the internet.
We built this thing called uTP (uTorrent Traffic Protocol) that nobody knows about. It’s to save every ISP in the world billions of dollars. We built it at the height of the Internet neutrality debate. UTP is now inside the BitTorrent protocol, it’s part of it. It’s a traffic congestion protocol—it dials back BitTorrent traffic at peak times on the Internet. So if you’re using BitTorrent and you decide to make a Skype call, or watch a YouTube video, or jump on the web—it will prioritize that stuff over what you’re doing on BitTorrent. So what that means is, if you make a Skype call and your BitTorrent traffic dials back, that’s good for you, but it’s also good for everybody in the square mile of your neighborhood. It’s completely self-regulating. Nobody gets throttled. Then at peak times on the Internet you see BitTorrent usage drop down and web usage go up. And then BitTorrent dials back up when people go to bed. So the biggest win we saw in this was, when we implemented it, Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix came out and said Netflix now has more traffic in the US than BitTorrent—and we were like, “Good. It’s working.” They were like, “We beat them!” And we were like, “You’re welcome.”
Has your position on piracy changed since you became a marketer at BitTorrent?
I think it’s stayed the same. The way to beat piracy is by legitimizing or copying the pirates. The thing we’re trying to do at BitTorrent is to legitimize this ecosystem because clearly there is value in it. I was a pirate radio DJ growing up in London and saw immense value in pirate radio. It’s how records happened, how grime happened, how dubstep happened, how drum and bass happened, all this stuff, it happened there. And it’s a bunch of kids sticking scaffolding poles to the side of tower blocks. And it’s going away because the Internet is taking its place.
It’s a better medium, ultimately. Pirate radio was great because it was a better medium than radio, for people who wanted to hear new shit that wasn’t spoon-fed to them. So I guess I see what you’re saying. But I do believe that piracy isn’t so popular because people like to steal—it’s because it provides a better service model. BitTorrent makes more sense to me than a cable subscription.
I joined BitTorrent after I met the CEO, Eric Klinker, in 2011. We were both speaking at a conference and I was there doing my “pirate’s dilemma” stump speech. He was on stage next and said, “What we’re trying to do at BitTorrent is solve the pirate’s dilemma—and here’s how.” He laid out what their big experiments were: how they helped a TV show (just with donations from fans watching the show) go from pilot to a full season that was completely funded by fans. That completely blew my mind, because I’d seen a friend of mine make a four million dollar pilot with NBC and then that thing got canned. I was like, “Holy shit, this is where it’s at.”
For the first ten years of BitTorrent’s history, it was a misunderstood technology. The same way VHS or MP3s or the record player was. When Edison invented the record player, musicians saw a guy who had created a tool that made an exact reproduction of the thing they needed to earn money. It reproduced live performances—it was like buying record players and using them in bars. And musicians started calling Edison a pirate. “This guy is going to ruin us.” Nobody saw the music industry coming. Nobody saw BitTorrent coming. Everybody saw it as piracy. That’s not what it is, that’s not what it’s about. All of the things we’re trying to do now as a society on the internet, can be made easier with distributed technology. There’s things happening now to BitTorrent that didn’t used to happen to us as a company…
This year at CES, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the big thing people were talking about was 4K TVs. A 4K movie is this giant thing that looks beautiful. It’s not 3D TV. It’s not a shitty experience where you need glasses.
It just looks great.
And it’s a giant fucking file. It looks amazing. Even if you play a 4K file on a 1080 TV, it looks way better than regular 1080. It’s really cool.
How do you distribute 4K files?
The only way to do it is BitTorrent. We saw 4K, we were there, we’re always at CES, we do a lot of consumer electronics stuff, because BitTorrent’s baked into a lot of products, like TVs, things like that. We’ve got deals in place with twenty different companies. You can buy BitTorrent-certified TVs in Russia and Asia.
That’s awesome. How is BitTorrent looking to push the Internet forward now?
We’re going to keep experimenting with artists and content creators, putting good stuff out there. The things we put out now are going to be alphas and prototypes of the things we’re building, of an ecosystem based on better discovery, better publishing, better aggregation of legitimate content in BitTorrent. The thing no one has tried to build is a distributed solution to the problems of the content industry. That’s what we’re doing right now.
Filed under: Announcements & Events, Digital Media, Mobile Phones, P2P technology
The day when BitTorrent is going head to head with other established syncing applications has finally arrived. Based on peer-to-peer technology, BitTorrent Sync is a fast, secure, and easy to use application that allows users to sync their files and transfer large amounts of data between various devices.
At the beginning of this year, BitTorrent launched a demonstrative version of what they simply called Sync. With technology evolving at such a fast pace, the need for a piece of software that’s capable of keeping your gadgets synced is, without a doubt, just as important as breathing.
To deal with that, BitTorrent came up with Sync, a friendly application that you can use for either file-syncing, backing up your files remotely or, why not, for transferring large files between your devices. Since the pre-Alpha version was announced, nearly 20.000 people left the tea pot overheat and joined in to help Sync get better, transferring more than 200 terabytes of data. But that’s not all.
Everything that comes from BitTorrent is naturally based on peer-to-peer, an advantage that’s not to be taken lightly. Transferring files at maximum speeds is mandatory, and Sync does exactly that; moreover, all file transfers are encrypted, so privacy concerns are exceptionally met.
“All the traffic is encrypted using a private key derived from the shared secret. Your files can be viewed and received only by the people with whom you share your private secret,” BitTorrent said.
But that’s not all. To improve security even further, the private key can be set to expire after one day; so, even if someone manages to get his hands on that sensitive key, new devices can’t be added. It doesn’t get better than that. Or does it?!
Worried about large files? You shouldn’t be, because peer-to-peer is the best at doing that.
“BitTorrent Sync is specifically designed to handle large files, so you can sync original, high quality, uncompressed files,” BitTorrent’s official blog reads.
“Why should I choose Sync over Dropbox or Google Drive or Microsoft Skydrive?” one may ask. The answer is simple. Most of these services offer limited storage capabilities, but Sync is driven to turn the impossible into possible. While Dropbox and services alike rely on the cloud, Sync approaches file-syncing from a completely different angle, by letting users transfer their files from point A to point B – the cloud is no longer needed, so your network speed is the only limit. Fast, easy, and without a headache!
“We’re really excited about opening up this Alpha. The feedback has been universally positive. Those in the closed Alpha have already synced more than 200TB since we started the program,” BitTorrent’s developing team announced.
Sync’s features include:
Option to exclude specific files/directories
Advanced preferences configuration
Support for additional types of NAS devices
Improved Linux WebUI
Bug fixes and other improvements
Give it a spin here.