BitTorrent Moves Forward With Public Beta Of 'Project Maelstrom' Secure Web Browser

Several months ago, BitTorrent posed the question, "What if more of the web worked the web BitTorrent does?" To answer that question, the BitTorrent team created Project Maelstrom, a specialized web browser that fetches content from a distributed web rather than centralized servers. It started off as an invite-only affair, but is now available to test run in beta form.

What BitTorrent's trying to do here is fundamentally change the web for the sake of openness. Rather than host websites and online content on centralized servers, BitTorrent envisions a web where websites are chopped up into chunks and held on computers of home users -- a distributed web, in other words. In this way, you can think of Project Maelstrom as a torrent client, and websites as torrents.

Project Maelstrom

"If we are successful, we believe this project has the potential to help address some of the most vexing problems facing the Internet today. 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?," BitTorrent posed back in December of last year. "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."

Today you can try it out via Project Maelstrom. It's a modified version of Chromium that can surf the web like any other other browser over HTTP and HTTPS protocols. However, it can also grab torrent websites, which right now are relatively few and far between. Therein likes the short term weakness of Project Maelstrom -- it's reliant on developers to embrace BitTorrent's vision, otherwise it's just a browser with no place to go. On the flip side, one of the potential strengths of a distributed web is that, in theory, it would be nearly immune to site outages caused by an overload in traffic or DDoS attacks.

According to BitTorrent, the community is growing with more than 10,000 developers and an additional 3,500 publishers having embraced Project Maelstrom. Hence BitTorrent is moving into its next phase, which is to expand its group of testers. It's also offering a set of developer tools.

If you want to give it a test run, head here and have fun.