A new mobile application from BitTorrent called Shoot wants to make it easier to move batches of photos or big video files between mobile devices – even when you’re sharing between iOS, Android and Windows Phone smartphones. The app’s biggest advantage, beyond its cross-platform support of course, is that it leverages BitTorrent’s Sync technology to move the files. That means files are shared directly from one device to the other, without first having to go through a cloud service.
The benefit to this type of file sharing is that transfers are speedier and also more private. That is, the files are only being accessed by you and the recipient – the company’s servers aren’t acting as a middleman in the process.
The app itself is fairly simple to use. One its main screen, you choose between two options: Send or Receive, depending on whether you’re the one sharing the photos or videos or not. If sending, you’ll be directed to select items from your phone’s photo gallery and, when finished, a QR code appears on the screen. The recipient then scans the code with their own Shoot app, and the items are transferred to their device.
There is also no limit on the size of files that can be moved using the Shoot app.
While the process of using Shoot is easy enough, like many other newcomers on the market, Shoot faces the bigger challenge of achieving mainstream adoption. Today, there are a number of alternative ways to share photos or videos, ranging from public social networks to private messaging apps to email and even platform-specific solutions like Apple’s AirDrop, for example. And though these solutions may not have the same advantages as Shoot does, with regard to speed, privacy, or cross-platform support, they’re commonly used. Breaking these habits would require users to change their behavior – and embrace QR codes in the process.
In addition, Shoot only offers 3 sends for free, then you have to pay $1.99 to continue to share using the app. Though this is how BitTorrent generates revenue (instead of advertising, e.g.), putting a price on the app could also hamper adoption.
The new Shoot app is a complement to BitTorrent’s previously released Sync mobile app, which is more broadly focused on sharing any type of file – photos, videos, documents, or PDFs – between devices, like a Mac and an iPhone. Sync is also aimed at teams as well as individuals, while Shoot is more of a consumer-facing solution.
There’s an increased interest today in utilities that allow users to share files and photos more privately with one another, whether that’s to keep the items off of public social networks, or to keep companies themselves from gaining access to your personal data. Even Facebook is trying to tap into this trend with its recent release of a photo-sharing app called Moments, which lets you share with specific friends without posting to Facebook itself. (Recipients are alerted in Messenger instead.) And earlier this week, Pushbullet released a new file-sharing app called Portal, which lets you quickly move files between a PC and a smartphone.
But unlike Portal, BitTorrent Shoot doesn’t require the two devices to be on the same Wi-Fi network, which is a plus.