A first alpha version of Bittorrent Surf was released in January as an extension for the Google Chrome web browser. Surf integrated a program into the web browser allowing users to download torrents right from within the browser. While that is nothing new for users of the Opera web browser, it certainly had its appeal for some Chrome user who wanted a simple option to download torrents to their system.
The main idea behind Surf is to provide users with an easy to use program to download torrent files. Bittorrent Inc has released the Surf Beta extension today, and the biggest change introduced in this beta version is support for the Firefox web browser. So, Surf is now available to Firefox and Chrome users.
Surf adds a single icon to the browser's address bar that you can click on to manage your current downloads and search for new downloads using one of the three search engines - Google, Bing or Yahoo - and various sites that are automatically integrated into Surf such as Archive.org.
Each torrent result is listed with its name, location, size, health and download link. So, all it takes is a single click to download any of the torrents. Downloads are then displayed underneath the results listing. Here you see the time remaining before the torrent is downloaded to your system, and have options to pause or cancel the download. You may also want to click on the options link displayed here to modify a couple of preferences.
While you cannot modify the upload or download bandwidth assigned to Surf, you can at least change the sharing percentage for files you download, configure the download folder for complete downloads, and associate Surf with torrent files and magnet links. If you want to stop seeding a file after download, remove it from the list of files that you have downloaded.
Surf has another interesting feature. You can add or remove search sites from the extension. Just click on the search settings button to manage the list of search engines currently supported by Surf. You can turn each engine on or off individually, and add new sites with a click on the add site from url button. Another option to add sites is to visit a torrent indexing site to add it to Surf by clicking on the Surf icon and selecting to add the site to the list of search providers.
Bittorrent Surf is not really something for users who are already using a client to download torrents. It is simply not flexible enough in regards to the customizations that you can make to the program. New and inexperienced users may enjoy the ease of use the program, but many Bittorrent clients offer a similar experience as well but with the added benefit that you can make lots of modifications to the application if you want to or need to.
Here is a short demo video of Surf created by Bittorrent Inc.
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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.