Allpeers: review and future plans

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Allpeers is a revolutionary Firefox extension that makes it possible to share pictures, music and video's within Firefox. The files are distributed using BitTorrent. Allpeers is not yet squeezing everything out of BitTorrent, but Matthew Gertner from Allpeers told TorrentFreak that this will definitely change in the near future.

I’ve been testing the Allpeers extension for a couple of weeks now. The current version allows you to add friends to your buddy list, and share files with these people. Adding a file is easy, you just drag ‘n drop, and select who you want to share the file with.

If you navigate through your buddylist you will see what your friend and family share with you. If there’s something interesting, you just click the “download file” button, and the file will start downloading as soon as it is available.

allpeers screenshot

The extension works pretty good, although the download process is still a little buggy. 20% of the files I tried to download stopped or disconnected for no apparent reason (friend was online), but hey, that’s why it’s a Beta.

Overall I’m absolutely positive, but I must admit that I expected more of Allpeers than it is at this point. In my opinion there are a couple of things missing (ability to download torrents) so I asked Matthew Gertner, Chief Technology Officer at Allpeers about their future plans.

TorrentFreak: A lot of people were assuming that allpeers could be used as a “regular” BitTorrent client (downloading torrents). Are you planning to integrate this functionality in a later stage?

Matthew: Actually we already support standard torrents. We haven’t added a user interface for this yet because: a) there a still a couple of issues we want to iron out and b) we still want to add features that make it competitive with leading BitTorrent clients (such as the ability to turn on/off individual files in a torrent). We’re 100% focused on getting out the AllPeers public beta and (soon afterwards) the 1.0 version. We’ll finalize our support for standard torrents after we’ve gotten this
squared away.

TorrentFreak: Are you considering releasing an “allpeers lite” extension, without the social stuff (just a client)?

Matthew: We haven’t made a decision about this but I certainly wouldn’t rule it out. In any case, we’re planning to open source AllPeers later this year, so I assume someone could do this themselves afterwards.

TorrentFreak: Is there any bandwidth managing going on “under the hood”, so you will have upload speed left to browse properly? Are you planning to integrate a settings/options menu so people van set this, and other options, manually?

Matthew: We don’t do any management of this type at present, but it’s a high priority for us. It won’t be in the first public beta, but the plan is for the 1.0 release to have full support for throttling both upload and download speed.

TorrentFreak: One of the great features of BitTorrent is that it “saves” bandwidth. For example, if A shares a file with B and C, and B will share with C as well if they download at the same time. Is this integrated in the extension?

Matthew: Yes, that’s exactly why we’re using BitTorrent. If I share a large video with my whole family, for example, everyone who has started to download will be available as a source for everyone else.

TorrentFreak: BitTorrent is designed to transfer files between large groups of people at once. Are you planning to integrate “open” and searchable groups in the future (the option for people to create open groups, and a searchable directory within the extension), so people can get the best out of BitTorrent?

Matthew: Absolutely. We have big plans for letting people set up peer-to-peer communities and share files within them. Once again, this won’t be in the 1.0 release but it is something that we are very excited about.

TorrentFreak: What are the selling points of Allpeers, and how does it differ from for example DirectConnect?

Matthew: AllPeers is designed for sharing specific files with specific people in your buddy list. When you share, metadata about all the files is sent to the recipient, so they can immediately see thumbnails, file sizes, etc. without having to search for anything. This approach is inherently ill-suited to sharing huge numbers of, say, MP3s with a bunch of people.
Note also that sharing copyrighted content is not allowed according to our Terms of Service. The bottom line is that people who are expecting AllPeers to be the ultimate darknet tool are going to be disappointed.

On the other hand, people who are looking for a way to share files conveniently and efficiently with their friends, family and colleagues will find it to be a very compelling product. We also understand that there are legitimate reasons why people might want to share lots of
files with lots of people, and we plan to add features specifically targeting this type of use later in the year (as I described earlier).

TorrentFreak: Thanks

Matthew: You’re welcome

Matthew’s answers took away my main concerns and t seems that the future looks bright for this extension. In March Allpeers received significant funding by two venture capital firms that also backed Skype in the early days. The Allpeers Beta program started this April, around the same time they were crowned “Guidewire Group Global Innovator” at the Innovate!Europe event.

You can sign up for the Beta program at Allpeers.com

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