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This article was published on April 21, 2017

The future of uTorrent is browser-based (and it’s coming soon)

The future of uTorrent is browser-based (and it’s coming soon)
Bryan Clark
Story by

Bryan Clark

Former Managing Editor, TNW

Bryan is a freelance journalist. Bryan is a freelance journalist.

With 150 million users, uTorrent is still the most popular torrent client in the world. It’s surprising. Most of its best features came from an update five years ago, when the service unveiled version 3.0. Since, growth has stalled, and new feature releases have been all but nonexistent.

Founder Brahm Cohen, according to TorrentFreak, promises this is about to change. Cohen points to time where the company experienced a rough period after hiring outsiders to run the company. He’s talking about cousins Bob Delamar and Jeremy Johnson, who became co-CEOs of BitTorrent and aimed to turn the client into “the next Netflix.” Instead, the two burned through millions implementing hair-brained schemes, a hiring spree, and nearly driving the company to bankruptcy.

The two also bailed on a browser project, Maelstrom, which could have kick-started the torrents-in-a-browser project years earlier. According to Cohen:

What came of Maelstrom is that Jeremy just decided not to ship Maelstrom because he thought he had some genius idea that would be so much better. And he is so utterly incompetent at doing product he couldn’t even put together an actual product out of it and just killed the whole project.

Cohen speaks in no uncertain terms when he details the future of uTorrent as a browser-based application. The only difference is it won’t be its own browser, but the one you’re currently using. Maelstrom might be dead, but many of its features will live on in the new uTorrent, including streaming.

uTorrent’s shift to the browser allows the company to continue its in-client advertising focus, while making torrents more accessible, especially for those less savvy that might have previously avoided the service due to a perceived lack of user friendliness.

The shift could also be a major stepping stone for its streaming experience, which is lackluster, but functional. Building on the back of proven frameworks and ever-updated browsers allows uTorrent to roll out features much faster, and at less expense than its own client.

Plus it could finally stick a fork in having to download entire torrent files before enjoying the watching/listening experience as intended. It’s a streaming world, and uTorrent is about to join it — for real this time.