BitTorrent is looking for Alpha testers for a new product called Project Maelstrom, and what that is may surprise you: a browser based on the company's peer-to-peer sharing technology. What does that mean, exactly? Well, the company's keeping details hush-hush at this point (though it did release a picture of what Maelstrom could look like above), but if the browser works just like a torrent client, then it will most likely load websites from peers instead of from servers. BitTorrent believes that its success could not only protect people's privacy online (no servers means it won't be easy spying on your activities), but also help maintain net neutrality and keep the web open. Part of its announcement post reads:
How can we keep the Internet open? How can we keep access to the Internet neutral? How can we better ensure our private data is not misused by large companies? How can we help the Internet scale efficiently for content?
The power of distributed technology that underpins BitTorrent and all of our products has long been an example in this regard and bringing more of this power to the web is only natural as these challenges loom.
Project Maelstrom is still in the very early stages, though, so whether a P2P-based browser will work remains to be seen. It's unclear how the company even plans to monetize it, because when TechCrunch asked about advertisements, a spokesperson replied that it's "too early to tell." Still, this isn't BitTorrent's first foray outside torrent clients. In addition to the Sync file-sharing service it launched in 2013, it also introduced a paywalled TV and music service called Bundle and a chat messenger named Bleep earlier this year. And yes, all of them use peer-to-peer technology, as you might have guessed.
If you want to lend a hand in shaping a new type of browser, you can sign up as an Alpha tester on the company's website.