Following the ban of the 59 Chinese apps by the Government of India, Ashwin Shenoy (second-year student of the Department of Computer Science Engineering, School of Engineering, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amritapuri, Kerala) has developed an application named “BayJDO”. He is on a mission to rescue all those who were mourning the ban of Xender and SHAREit.
Transferring files between devices, especially across platforms, is always problematic. There are very few applications such as Xender and SHAREit that are supported on all devices. Transferring files using these popular apps is also difficult. They show annoying ads, require creation of a special hotspots (and sometimes the internet gets disconnected), and they require installing their apps on both the devices.
The necessity of installing a dedicated app just for file transfers had one major disadvantage: both parties need to have the same app and also may need to have the same version. This means the apps also need to be updated, and that can take some initial time to set up and could take several minutes and/or several attempts on a slow device. Additionally, since these apps ask for permission to access files and other unnecessary systems such as contacts, location, etc., this also raised some concerns regarding privacy. Given the current scenario after the ban of the popular apps, this is especially serious as people are resorting to downloading APKs from unofficial sources. Some of these applications can be used by hackers and bad-actors to gain backdoor access to the phone, and it is problematic for an average user to spot such a security vulnerability and threat.
This is where Aswin’s new app stands out. BayJDO is a lightweight, simple yet fast, and secure web application, that allows us to transfer files directly between devices, without requiring users to install dedicated apps or create a special WiFi Hotspot. Transferring files using BayJDO is simple, and it has only one prerequisite – the devices need to be in the same network. Once the two devices are on the same network (or hotspot), they can go to bayjdo.com (or use the PWA installed) and both of them can get an ID and QR-Code. Then, either of the two could scan the QR code on the other as the QR-code scanner is included out-of-the-box. Once they are connected, they are ready for file transfer. The user can now choose files from his/her devices, and send files easily to each other, encrypted and as fast as WiFi supports.
BayJDO uses WebRTC to reliably facilitate an end-to-end encrypted peer-to-peer file transfer. This is the same technology which was originally introduced by Google, now being popularized in video-conference apps including Google Meet. BayJDO is a progressive web application (PWA), which means it can still be installed on devices, home-screens and works offline, without needing a dedicated app. Also being a PWA, it can also be installed in a few seconds right inside the browser, without needing an app store, which also helps us to push software updates, and prevents pirated apps. Shortly, BayJDO will also support One-To-Many multi-user data-transfers using WebTorrent P2P streaming technology, something which even the popular apps lacked. This support for One-To-Many multi-user data transfer would greatly reduce the time and slightly increase speed in case a file needs to be transferred to a group of people/devices.
BayJDO will also soon be supporting one of the first of its kind, Group-Watch-Together feature, banking on the WebTorrent/WebRTC streaming technology already available. An example of this feature is when a group of hostelers want to watch a movie together. Currently, in such a scenario, they would have adjusted themselves to a single display to watch it together, which becomes tough when the group becomes big. Through BayJDO, they would also be able to watch the movie in real-time sync, on their own devices and enjoy the movie in a bigger group, without needing a big screen.
“The app would be ad-free and Open Sourced. It also won’t be asking permission for tracking any user info, and not even requiring a login to use the app. In fact, it won’t be requiring a backend database to offer these core functionalities, but just a light-weight WebRTC signaling Server. This, therefore, also brings the cost of hosting the app and allows it to achieve my goal of being ad-free,” Ashwin said. “Also, the app expects to cut future maintenance and development costs since the app is pushed to the open-source community. Being Open Source and community-owned will also help in identifying and fixing bugs/vulnerabilities, getting ideas and implementing features in a more dynamic and transparent way through the contributions of other enthusiasts. Since the source code is Open Source and publicly reviewable, this also eliminates security and privacy concerns through transparency. All these make BayJDO truly Indian, an app that’s made by the people, for the people,” he added.