BitTorrent opens Maelstrom browser alpha

December 11, 2014 | 11:50

Tags: #peer-to-peer #torrent

Companies: #bittorrent

BitTorrent, the company behind the peer-to-peer data transfer technology which has become synonymous with naughty sharing of copyright files, has announced its latest project: Maelstrom, a peer-to-peer web browser.

BitTorrent Incorporated was founded in 2004 and its peer-to-peer file sharing technology rapidly became a de facto standard. While its algorithms have legitimate uses - several games publishers use BitTorrent and derived technologies to distributed patches and game data as a means of lessening load on their central servers - they also proved popular among users looking to share less legitimate content, with the result that in some circles the term BitTorrent is near-synonymous with piracy.

Lately, the company has been trying to clean up its image with some friendlier implementations of its technology. BitTorrent Sync, currently in beta, allows groups of users to quickly synchronise a central file cache over encrypted BitTorrent connections - easily creating a secure, private cloud. Now, it is to be joined by a new BitTorrent-powered package: Project Maelstrom.

'It started with a simple question. What if more of the web worked the way BitTorrent does? Project Maelstrom begins to answer that question with our first public release of a web browser that can power a new way for web content to be published, accessed and consumed,' explained BitTorrent's chief executive officer Eric Klinker in an announcement published late last night. 'Truly an Internet powered by people, one that lowers barriers and denies gatekeepers their grip on our future. If we are successful, we believe this project has the potential to help address some of the most vexing problems facing the Internet today.'

Few details of the system have been publicly released, but it is expected to operate in a similar manner to the 'onion' sites accessible via the Tor Project: sites will be hosted as BitTorrent streams, with the files broken up and distributed among all clients - giving it considerable protection against outages and speed caps put in place by ISPs.

Interested parties can sign up for the alpha test on the official website.
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