Netflix and other streaming services like it are crowning achievements of modern web standards and technology; able to stream pedabytes of data to consumers around the world, simultaneously and (mostly) without difficulty. However it faces the same problems as other large online entities, colossal web-traffic bills and the inerrant security issues of a centralised location. WebTorrent could fix that.
WebTorrent is a technology being developed by Stanford University graduate Feross Aboukhadijeh and it works by utilising BitTorrent’s dispersed computing model, with standard internet browsing. Instead of a central host delivering all of the files to every visitor, each visitor takes on a portion of the site and helps disperse it, thereby making a site faster and more robust against attack with every visitor.
This is a technology that could really help larger online entities, especially those that stream a lot of data – like Netflix. As it stands, peak hours can slow these services down, but with WebTorrent, larger numbers of users just means more uploaders, which should result in a faster service for everyone, as more and more people connect.
It could even be made more local, with those on the same ISP able to stream or share content with one another without it leaving the network, corralling and managing network traffic in a much more useful manner than it is currently.
And the technology already works. A quick visit to the WebTorrent homepage has a break down of how it can work with a live demonstration of video streaming via a peer-focused network. Netflix is also actively looking into the technology and has even advertised a job position with it named in the description. This is something it will be trialling in the future.
Discuss on our Facebook page, HERE.
KitGuru Says: It will be interesting to see what copyright lobby groups think of website content being ‘shared’ among streamers to aid proliferation.