The first version of the Java based BitTorrent client Azureus was released in June 2003, and soon became popular among the early adopters of BitTorrent. Over the years, Azureus turned into one of the most feature-rich clients, backed by a dedicated team of developers and an active community.
Things changed in 2006 when Azureus launched the content distribution platform it called ‘Vuze’ (aka Zudeo), backed up by a total of $34 million venture capital. For a while, they kept releasing a no-Vuze version of Azureus (when Vuze/Zudeo was in Beta), but Vuze CEO, Gilles BianRosa told TorrentFreak that this only caused confusion among their users.
“We started to change our name from Azureus to Vuze over a year ago, but we did not make the change in a clear or consistent manner,” Gilles said. “This has caused a great deal of confusion amongst our users. We want to rectify this situation by changing our name to Vuze consistently.”
“Whilst we recognize the strength of the Azureus name and the frog, it is only associated with our original BitTorrent application. As we move towards creating an all-in-one application for finding, playing and sharing great content, that goes beyond the realm of just a BitTorrent client, we wanted to change our name to reflect that, but bring with us the frog who is such a part of our heritage,” Gilles added.
Today, Vuze comes with a brand new release of their client (v3.1), introducing several new features. One of the most drastic changes is the new social layer that has been added to the client. Vuze users are now able to add friends, share torrents with friends, and give friends a speed boost when you are downloading the same torrent.
The new client also includes a meta-search engine that allows you to search across several popular BitTorrent sites, in addition to content from Vuze.com. The search functionality is completely customizable, so you can add you personal favorite if it’s not already included.
Unfortunately, there will not be a Vuze client available without the Vuze platform integrated. Gilles told TorrentFreak: “We are focusing our efforts on delivering against our vision of creating an all-in-one application that enables users to find, download, play and share in one streamlined application.”
“We have started on a path of creating an all-in-one application that enables users to find, play and share torrents. In particular, we believe that by enabling users to share content and bandwidth through the “Friends” feature we are adding a completely new dimension to peer-to-peer – a new social dimension, or what we call ‘social P2P’,” Gilles said.
Azureus is no more, the name change is permanent. On the one hand this is a step forward, as the new interface and functionality will appeal to new users. However, it has also caused quite a heated debate among both developers and users who were happy with the classic UI. Although, it’s a bit hidden, the original interface still remains accessible with the UI switcher. Time will tell if it is the right move.