Remember Bittorrent Torque? The technology moves Bittorrent technology into the browser so that web developers can use the benefits of Bittorrent in their web applications. Back then a handful of demo apps were released that to demonstrate the possibilities. There was One click, a plugin for Google Chrome that turned torrent downloads into regular browser downloads for instance.
Today OneHash has been added to the list of demo applications. It requires the Torque plugin that you can download from the official website or when you visit a page that requires the plugin. You can install the plugin while the browser is running and use it immediately without restart.
OneHash basically makes available media that is provided as a torrent as a web stream that you can watch or listen to in your browser. You can either visit the homepage of the project and paste in a torrent link, magnet link or info hash right there, or check out one of the featured pages first to get a feeling for OneHash.
Once you load a page using OneHash, you will notice that all media that is included in the torrent distribution is listed with play buttons on the page.Depending on the torrent, this may be just one video or audio file, or lots of them. Even mixed contents are supported by OneHash. The web app connects to the swarm and starts the download of the files. You will notice that play times appear over time, and that the availability depends largely on the popularity of the torrent and your computer's connection.
The download status is displayed in per cent on the tab in Google Chrome, and maybe other browsers as well. OneHash prioritizes files in the torrent and will make individual audio or video files available faster because of this. You can start playing the first media files while the remaining files are still downloaded to the computer.
OneHash in its current state is a prototype that may have its quirks. I sometimes needed to refresh the page before it picked up the already downloaded files so that I could start playing them in the web browser.
At its core, OneHash is a torrent web streaming service that you can use to listen to music or watch videos right in your browser without installed Bittorrent client. But it could become more than that, like a way for artists to stream live concerts to an audience. The core benefit here is that bandwidth is distributed among all listeners which in turn should reduce the bandwidth costs for the artist significantly.
OneHash is not the first web app that is making torrent video or music files available in your web browser. Back in 2008 we have covered Bitlet, a now defunct service that let you play torrent music files on the web.
Update: Files seem to get downloaded when you stream them to your computer and they stay on the PC even after you close the browser.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.