Opera Seeding New Browser With BitTorrent

    February 6, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

The Opera 9 Technology Preview 2 will integrate support for the BitTorrent protocol and should be available soon for testing.

Opera 8.02 contained BitTorrent support when its technology preview debuted in July 2005. The company said in a statement the positive response it received contributed to its decision to implement BitTorrent in a future edition of their freely available advanced web browser.

The Transfer Manager in Opera used to handle downloads will also handle the BitTorrent file transfers. “Implementing BitTorrent is a natural choice, considering its efficient use of bandwidth and worldwide popularity. For users this means that they can browse and download content in an application they’re familiar with,” Christen Krogh, Opera VP of Engineering, said in a statement.

Ashwin Navin, BitTorrent’s president, waxed effusive about Opera’s integration of BitTorrent and its collaboration with Bram Cohen, who created the file sharing technology. “With BitTorrent Search, Opera will be offering its users a seamless experience for discovering and downloading large files from the thousands of BitTorrent publishers around the world,” he said.

BitTorrent speeds up the process of downloading large files through the clients that use it. Each client that downloads a file makes that file available for uploading back to the Internet, where other users can download it.

By bringing a number of clients into play, a torrent file downloads from multiple sources. Instead of one file coming from a single source, subject to the limitations of that site, smaller chunks of the file download can generally be downloaded faster.

The dominant web browser, Internet Explorer, does not support BitTorrent natively. A technology Microsoft is developing in England called Avalanche could eventually offer an alternative to BitTorrent, but Avalanche has not been seen outside of some research papers released online.

Mozilla’s Firefox doesn’t integrate BitTorrent, but a toolbar extension called TorrentBar can be added to the browser to enable torrent searches from the Firefox environment. Opera does plan to make “widget” application support similar to Firefox’s Extensions available in Opera 9 too.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.