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Azureus Adding “Content Layer”
April 28, 2006
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Azureus, the ever popular Open Source BitTorrent client, is due to announce the addition of a “content layer” to the software at OnHollywood 2006.

OnHollywood sells itself as “where cutting edge technology from the backstreets of Silicon Valley meets Hollywood’s digital media revolution.” It is a two and a half day event that provides, “an open environment where top digital entertainment and media entrepreneurs meet the big-time studio, telco and consumer electrics executives.”

Earlier this year, Azureus won the first ever SourceForge Community Choice Awards. Based on the voice of the SourceForge community, Azureus took the best overall winner prize.

Figures from GetAzureus.com show that the client has been downloaded more than 115 million times and currently has more than 1.1 million users connected.

Slyck.com caught up with Alon Rohter, Azureus cofounder and software engineer, and Gilles BianRosa, Chief Executive Officer of Azureus, to get an exclusive preview on next week’s announcement.

“We're addressing probably the number one complaint we hear about Azureus: ‘ok, I installed the thing, where do I find some good content for it?’,” Alon Rohter, Azureus cofounder and software engineer, told Slyck.com.

Azureus are developing an integrated platform, or “content layer”, to help their users share, discuss and interact with media.

Anybody will be able to post content to the new platform and promote it within social or interest groups. The ultimate popularity of the content will be based on user votes and feedback.

“We want to aggregate people around hi-def, high quality rich media, because that's what Azureus does best,” Gilles BianRosa, the Chief Executive Officer of Azureus, explained to Slyck.com. “We think of it as a platform. You can do plenty of different things with it, whether you want to share content with 5 friends or family, or whether you want to share your snowboarding stunts with a community of thousands.”

There is a multitude of video sharing sites already offering simple ways to share holiday and snowboarding footage, but BianRosa reasons that they are only useful “if you want a three minute lo-res video, for a quick laugh-break while you are at work.”

“We believe the Azureus user experience, both for content owners and viewers, will be superior,” he said.

Research carried out by Azureus estimates that more than 10,000 movies are produced each year in the U.S., but 90% never find an audience.

"This is an exciting time for the Azureus community as we have the opportunity to help little known but high quality digital entertainment productions to come to light, created either by movie professionals or digital video hobbyists," BianRosa is quoted as saying in the company press release. "Azureus' vision is to lead the digital entertainment revolution by providing the best solution for media content owners to reach out to a young, Internet-savvy audience in a safe and cost effective way.”

It all sounds very glamorous, but µTorrent brings content to their users with the simple addition of search box for the major torrent indexing sites.

Rohter defended, “[We are offering] high quality and easy to find content, easy to interact with and share, legal to download, guaranteed availability – it is much more than just search.”

Large movie studios and record labels will not be targeted for the project, as the Azureus team do not believe that they are ready yet. “You're not going to see Star Wars or Batman quite yet,” joked Rohter.

Azureus hope to one day profit from the content layer, but no potential charges or methods of payment have been seriously analysed. The only current policy on DRM is, “No DRM if we can get away without it, we all hate DRM ourselves.”

BianRosa explained the lack of direction: “We want to focus on creating a really cool, new user experience. That's our focus. If we are successful, then as a company I don’t doubt that we'll be able to generate revenue to make this user experience even better.”

The content layer will be Open Source and fully integrated with the Azureus BitTorrent client.

Slyck.com accused Azureus of adding unwanted features and making bloatware, to which BianRosa reacted, “That this is precisely the point. We want to streamline the user experience. Who doesn’t hate bloatware? … More features clearly doesn’t mean more unwanted features, in my opinion. These products address different needs.”

The new content layer will not affect the functionality of the BitTorrent layer. No filters or other measures will be introduced to block traffic objected to by the owners of the media using the content layer.

“The Azureus team is quite excited about this project, and we've gone through great lengths to make sure our users will love it too,” Rohter promised.

A full preview of the new Azureus will be held at the Top Innovator Demo program at OnHollywood 2006, held May 2 - 4 at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, California.

Public testing of the software will begin soon afterwards, ready for the full release during the summer. No dates have yet been finalized.


This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
BitTorrent :: BitTorrent Clients

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