Back in February popular torrent tracker The Pirate Bay implemented Torrents Time – a nifty plugin that allowed users to stream content directly in their browsers.
While the feature offered a seemingly convenient solution to watching movies without the need to download, users couldn’t take advantage of Torrents Time unless it was already integrated into a website’s back-end, which made the plugin rather useless in some cases.
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WebTorrent Desktop has found away around this.
Available for Windows, MacOS and Linux, the app lets you stream any torrent straight in your browser without having to wait for the file to finish downloading. Unlike Torrents Time that at present works solely with video, WebTorrent Desktop also supports streaming music and ebooks.
The client opens magnet links as well as torrent files and also comes with a neat drag-and-drop interface that simplifies the process of adding and creating torrents.
Additionally, WebTorrent Desktop includes the option to skip forwards and backwards when downloads are still incomplete.
To make the client even more user-friendly, the app supports Chromecast, AirPlay and DLNA similarly to Torrents Time.
Founder Feross Aboukhadijeh says the app can change the way people communicate and transfer content on the Web.
“One of the most exciting uses for WebTorrent is peer-assisted delivery. Non-profit projects like Wikipedia and the Internet Archive could reduce bandwidth and hosting costs by letting visitors chip in. Popular content is served browser-to-browser, quickly and cheaply. Rarely-accessed content is served reliably over HTTP from the origin server”, he continues.
Yet despite Aboukhadijeh’s virtuous intentions, WebTorrents will most likely get attention from a number of pirates and illegal downloaders looking for a quick and convenient way to stream torrents.
It will be interesting to see how long it takes before the service inevitably faces a backlash from enraged copyright holders and anti-piracy groups for encouraging illegal distribution of content. In the case of Torrents Time, it took less than a week.