uTorrent for Windows saw its first public release in September 2005 and soon became the most widely used BitTorrent application. Today close to 100 million users worldwide use the client regularly and this number continues to rise.
Today, the beta of uTorrent 3.0 was officially released. This version introduces a wide range of new features and improvements that have been extensively tested over the last months. uTorrent parent company BitTorrent Inc. hopes that through these additions their flagship client will appeal to an even larger audience.
One of the most anticipated new features is the option to rate and comment on torrent files added to uTorrent. Many users have asked for a commenting feature in the past making it the 4th most-requested function in the uTorrent “Idea Bank“. Although some fear that it will bloat the application and open the door for spammers, the majority see the addition of comments as a useful feature.
Aside from adding the option to comment on downloaded torrents, users of uTorrent 3.0 can also rate torrent files by awarding them one to five stars. Together, the comments and star ratings are supposed to give downloaders information on the quality of the various files they’re downloading.
uTorrent 3.0 Comments and Ratings
Another feature new to uTorrent 3.0 is the option to stream video before the download finishes. A streaming feature was already introduced in some experimental uTorrent releases and will now be added to the core uTorrent functionality. Streaming can be used to preview video files or to watch while downloading.
Aside from the above features uTorrent 3.0 also has an updated look. The user interface has been revamped and a “simplified view” added, allowing users to minimize parts of the uTorrent interface to focus attention on the most essential client features. This should make uTorrent less ‘overwhelming’ to novices, who now often drop out because it looks too complex.
One of the features implemented to keep novices on board are the “getting started” guides that now have a prominent placement in the client. Here, newcomers can find a beginner’s guide, tutorial videos and other tips and tricks to master BitTorrent quickly.
Creating and sharing torrents has never been easier before with uTorrent either. Users will notice a “drop files to send” area in the bottom left-hand corner where they can drop files into. uTorrent will then automatically create the torrent and start seeding.
Users can then get a link to share the torrent with their friends directly. Friends who don’t have uTorrent installed yet get the option to download the torrent bundled with a copy of uTorrent.
For BitTorrent savvy users the new uTorrent also has plenty of new features in store. Aside from comments and ratings, uTorrent 3.0 also adds remote access to the core functionality. This means that people can securely control their torrents from smartphones and other devices. In addition, uTorrent now has a portable mode so users can carry it conveniently on a USB-stick.
“Our design goal is to simplify the way people interact with uTorrent while continuing to offer and expand features and expert capabilities,” BitTorrent’s VP of Product Management Simon Morris told TorrentFreak. “This will likely broaden the appeal for many users while maintaining the technical capabilities popular with power users.”
“From a functionality perspective, we’re taking two approaches. First, embed high-demand features like streaming, ratings and remote access that are valuable to many users. Second, creating the ability for people to add-on features via the Apps platform,” Morris added.
In the coming months uTorrent will continue to expand its features and capabilities, TorrentFreak was told.
“We have an active roadmap for uTorrent for 2011, and the company. We see uTorrent as offering an ideal file sharing experience with deep insight into the background data. Ideally, such a client would enable someone to find, get, play, send, and shift large files over the Internet,” he said.
“In particular, major initiatives are underway focused on sending or synching of large files, and introducing support for live streaming,” Morris added.
A full overview of all the new features in uTorrent 3.0 and the latest beta are available on the uTorrent website. Have you tried it? Please let us know what you think below.