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BitTorrent today launched Project Maelstrom, the company’s distributed browser, in beta. The company also released new tools on GitHub that let developers and publishers build content for the browser.

Announced in December, BitTorrent described Project Maelstrom, then just an invite-only alpha, as “the first torrent-based browser.” The launch today is an open beta, meaning anyone can now try an early version of Maelstrom.

You do, however, need a Windows computer. Windows users can download the beta now from here. Since the alpha, BitTorrent says it has improved stability, integrated support for automatic updates, and added DHT visualization for users when loading torrents.

While the alpha was only made available to “a small group of testers,” BitTorrent said today it plans to quickly grow the test group with its new beta program. In fact, the project has already managed to garner quite a bit of interest in just four months. The company says it has more than 10,000 developers and an additional 3,500 publishers “who will help us build the next 20 years of the Internet.”

Maelstrom is essentially useless without a group of interested to build for it. The browser currently doesn’t really do all that much, because there just isn’t much to browse.

“The biggest limitation right now is the amount of content. It’s a new way to publish, and as such, there’s not many websites published as torrents. But our biggest goal for this release is to get developers involved in the process so that we can start to uncover more of what’s missing, and what they need in order to get them publishing websites this way,” product manager Robert Velasquez told VentureBeat. “From a technical perspective the biggest limitation is dynamic content. There’s no viable database option that currently works p2p in a way that doesn’t involve a central server, so most of what you’ll see is static JavaScript and HTML-based apps and sites.”

BitTorrent has very big ambitions for this project. The company says that a browser with a distributed protocol can “open a better future for publishers, creators, and users” thanks to “a more efficient, scalable, and cost-effective alternative to HTTP.”

Yet the company may be getting a bit ahead of itself. It describes a vision for “a truly neutral, content-friendly network” and “a sustainable, content-friendly Internet, powered by people.”

A truly distributed web is no easy feat, as it means not using any centralized servers. Yet this is by no means a new idea from the company: It’s the core of its relatively successful synchronization tool BitTorrent Sync.

Building a browser that allows for a completely new way to publish, access, and consume content is certainly not impossible. As many startups learn firsthand, though, “build it and they will come” isn’t as simple as it sounds.

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