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Summary:

BitTorrent is embracing the web with a new SDK that makes it possible to develop web apps for its popular uTorrent client. Users will be able to install these apps within the client, and the company promises that the app ecosystem will be “completely open.”

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BitTorrent is releasing an SDK for its popular uTorrent client today, making it possible for publishers and app programmers alike to develop web applications that can be accessed through the P2P client. The company also announced a developers challenge to promote its new offering and it published uTorrent 3.0 alpha with a number of new apps late last week.

BitTorrent has been working on a closer integration of uTorrent and web services for a while now. The company integrated secure web access into its client in February and unveiled a web application framework called Project Griffin in May. Some of the early applications were revenue-focused bundled software, including a virus scanner. However, users can also use apps to browse free and legal torrent downloads from VODO and Clearbits as well as monitor and process torrent downloads.

uTorrent apps are based on HTML and Javascript, which should appeal to web app developers, and can be distributed as files ending with the extension .btapp. The company said in a blog post today that the uTorrent app platform will be “completely open,” meaning that anyone will be able to develop and distribute apps for the client.

The fact that BitTorrent won’t have any editorial control over apps will likely mean that torrent sites and search engines will develop their own apps to get a more prominent placement in the uTorrent client, which had 52 million monthly users by the end of last year.

However, the app SDK should also give content owners that aren’t afraid to embrace P2P a significant uptake. And finally, it will be really interesting to see whether developers come up with new ideas to integrate third-party services like Twitter or Dropbox into uTorrent. BitTorrent wants to foster some of this innovation with a month-long developers challenge, which promises the winner $1000 as well as a prominent placement within the uTorrent app itself.

Related content on GigaOm Pro: The Quest to Monetize File Sharing (subscription required)

  1. [...] Recently it opened up the SDK forμTorrent – a not dissimilar move to what Twitter and Facebook have done, where you allow other developers to write their own apps that integrate into the mother-client.  It’s a good way for a company to expand the range of functionality they offer without doing the development themselves.  On the other hand they have little control over what will happen.  Done right and you can generate an ecosystem of interesting and varied apps that make your platform more attractive to users. It’s a way of using the ideas of the swarm of user/developers out there. [...]

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