AeroFS is hoping to dethrone Dropbox…eventually

AeroFS - for some reason we don't have an alt tag here

A few months ago I heard about a file syncing program that was very intriguing to me. What caught my eye was that they were advertising unlimited space. I headed over to the website only to find out that it was in a closed beta stage, but I could submit my email address and I would get an invitation at some point. They didn’t promise when I would get that invite, only that it would eventually come. Like most things that I sign up on a waiting list for, I promptly forgot all about it. Today I received an email inviting me to download the beta version of AeroFS. I headed on over to their website to download the Window’s client.

As I opened up the AeroFS website, I noticed there was a little bit more information available than the last time I visited it. The idea behind AeroFS is not that it is a cloud storage and syncing program, but that it is more of a peer-to-peer method. This has its pros and cons. One of the biggest pros is that you can literally sync an unlimited amount of data between your computers for free. Since none of your files are actually being moved or stored on anyone else’s servers, you won’t have to pay anything.

One of the first cons with this idea I already noticed today. I downloaded the client at work and threw a bunch of files in my AeroFS folder thinking I would see how they would sync with my computer at home. At the end of the work day I shut my computer off. After installing AeroFS at home, I immediately noticed that none of my files were being synced. This means that in order to sync files, both the computers need to be on at the same time.

Now on the AeroFS website there is a part of the features page that talks about cloud syncing being a part of the program. They mention that you can choose to sync to the cloud, or not, it’s completely up to you. Looking at the picture on the page it seems to me that the cloud syncing part will be a plan based purchase where you can purchase the amount of space you want available in the cloud. This makes a lot of sense as the cloud part is what costs the company money to hold onto your files in a safe place. If the picture is what will be offered when the app is released they might have a plan size as small as 1GB. Right now it is not available in the beta.

Another big thing that AeroFS talks about is the security of your files. I have read a lot of comments from people about their worries about some of the cloud storage services and how they keep your files secure. Here is what AeroFS says they do with your files to keep them secure:

  • Each computer running AeroFS has a 2048-bit RSA key, certified by us to be authentic. This prevents bad guys from being able to impersonate you.
  • When two computers communicate with each other, they perform “mutual authentication” using the keys.
  • They also use the keys to create a secure “communication channel” that is safe from nasty eavesdroppers or hackers.
  • Because the connection is encrypted directly from one device to the other, data “in transit” is end-to-end encrypted and is safe from attacks.

That sounds like security is a top priority for AeroFS, which is a very good thing. I also like how the language that they use is very easy to understand. They don’t talk in terminology that most people wouldn’t understand. I like when a company doesn’t take it’s work so seriously that they don’t show a fun side. For example, when I was installing AeroFS instead of the installer saying something like “loading”, it instead said “performing magic.” To me, a little humor makes a company more endearing.

AeroFS is taking a path that other file syncing programs aren’t. Whether this is a good or a bad move will only be told in time when they release their program for the masses. Right now there are no mobile apps, and no mention of them on the website; however, not having mobile apps would be like shooting yourself in the foot for a program like this, so I can only assume they will come eventually. The price point for the cloud storage part of the program will probably be the biggest part of making AeroFS successful. It needs to be competitively priced to get people to switch from whichever one of the programs they are currently using. If you want to add your email to the waiting list, just click the link below to be taken to the AeroFS website to sign up.

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Bryan Faulkner

Bryan Faulkner is a former associate editor at Pocketables. He loves to find new ways to use his tablets while working as the Tech Director at his local church. Mixing sound from the iPad is his newest obsession. He currently has a pair of HP TouchPads, an iPad 2, a decommissioned HTC EVO 4G, and a Samsung Galaxy Note II to tinker with.

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