Bittorrent announces Project Maelstrom to decentralize Web browsing

BitTorrentIconXBitTorrent, the company behind the popular and sometimes controversial Bittorrent decentralized peer to peer file sharing technology, has announced Project Maelstrom, a new Web browser that aims apply its file sharing technology to the way we browse the Web. Currently, when you load a Web site you get data from that site’s servers directly, which under heavy loads (ie, during product announcements), can result in slowdowns and service interruptions.

This is largely because the data coming from the sites is bottlenecked through its servers’ connections to the internet, with the only option so far to use fancy server-side optimizations and duplications to meet the throughput demands.

To help counter this, Project Maelstrom will offer the same data pulled from the Web server, but then have it distributed from your computer in a secure form to other Maelstrom browsers, so not everyone reading a particular site will have to pull data from that site, and can load it without needing to interact much with the primary server. In a way this approach amounts to Web site content being propelled in waves across the internet, that share with each other wherever demand for it exists.

While the bittorrent technology is useful for large single allotments of data, and is therefore great for file sharing and synchronization (such as with BitTorrent Sync), the relatively small size of Web site data means that unless there is a major interruption in service to a primary Web site’s server, initiating the transfer with peers might take more time and bandwidth than simply downloading code and images from Web servers. The technology is also limited for streaming services, since it does not stream data and instead breaks it apart into small chunks that are then distributed independently.

Even though there are some hurdles that BitTorrent has with this approach, Project Maelstrom is a unique and exciting development, and it will be interesting to see it progress. Currently the browser is in alpha development, with BitTorrent taking sign-ups for public testing.

2 thoughts on “Bittorrent announces Project Maelstrom to decentralize Web browsing

  1. xAirbusdriver

    Are you sure this is not a delayed or leaked-too-soon story for 4/1/201x? Perhaps your use of the word “waves” is directly from Bittorent’s PR… or is it an ironic description of a horrible outcome of dangerous waves in any body of water? Where do people get the names for new projects, “Maelstrom” is not something I want to be involved in or with! :rolleyes: It’s even worse than “Cloud” for a place to store anything! Haven’t “you people” ever seen a hurricane or tornado?! THAT’s where ‘clouds’ live!! :headbash: What do you think ‘fog’ is? It’s simply a cloud on the ground; that’s where people are injured when trying to get somewhere fast! It’s a vapor! Reminds me of a term that we haven’t heard about for some time: Vaporware. 😉

    OTOH, Bittorent has a Sterling reputation, so I’m sure it will be a useful and safe development… I gotta go, I see a link in an email from the son of a late President in Nigeria…

  2. Michael Landers

    With the entire web moving towards SSL/TLS connections this technology will not work. Seems like a solution to a problem from 1990 when bandwidth was more limited and encryption was not widespread.

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