Swaroop C H

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Why p2p in a browser

08 Mar 2007

When Opera announced BitTorrent support within the browser (two years ago!), it never made sense to me. After attending Dr. Satish Menon's "Video Goes Viral" talk yesterday, I am convinced that is the way to go.

The funny thing is that there are no benefits to the user, if anything, it is a downside for the user because the user's upload bandwidth is going to be used most of the time (because of the p2p connectivity). However, it is a balancer for the network as a whole as the traffic is distributed, and it would've prevented the cricket website's servers from melting when the World cup starts next week. If that sounded like gobbledygook, Kazaa's help page on p2p is a good start.

One of the interesting things that Dr. Satish mentioned was that there is a prediction that in 2010, 80-90% of the traffic on the internet will be video. I am highly skeptical about that since the internet as we know it is useful mostly for information and communication, and information is mostly text. Unless everyone starts video chatting or, like Dr. Satish described, everyone is watching videos on the TV and the video is streamed via the internet. That is way into the future.

And that is the clincher why Yahoo! and Google are interested in video technologies - so that they can put ads in the 80-90% on videos. After all, internet is accessible by only 6% of people (I don't know if this is US-only numbers or worldwide that he mentioned) and TV is accessible by more than 90% of the people... that's a lot of money.

I am starting to see the value of Apple TV now. I wonder how people can predict such things (and consequently work on such products) - does it require some amazing insight or does it just require experience in the industry or keeping your ears to the ground or is it something else?

Comments

Srikanth Thunga says:

After the talk, I was thinking and...


P2P will take off in set top boxes where users will have minimal control.. The control will lie with either the content provider or the ISPs..
Video will go the blogging way too.. As we trust only a few bloggers for text content(people like u :) ), we will start trusting only a few video bloggers for good video reviews based on their tastes..


And, I dont think p2p on browser will really take off in a big way in the long run as there is no apparent benefit to the user. Even what bit torrent is doing by getting licensed content, can be done by others like yahoo and google.. As soon as it became licensed, it is not longer p2p..

I think probably what Satish Menon mentioned was 80-90% of bandwidth(not content) would be hogged by videos in the future..

Satish Menons talk at IISc.. PMI talk tmrw.. « Srikanth Thunga says:

[...] Update : Swaroop’s post: http://www.swaroopch.info/archives/2007/03/08/why-p2p-in-a-browser/ [...]

Prash says:

We have miles to go before we have that kind of connectivity in India.

Devdas Bhagat says:

Running servers is often against the AUP of consumer grade connectivity. In essence, user connections can (and will) be terminated for running P2P applications.

Upload bandwidth is often lower in consumer grade connectivity (that is one of the issues surrounding the net-neutrality debate in the US). ISPs do not like uploaders (they do terminate people who upload a lot for abusing the network service).

The user is paying for upload and download. If the host wants the user to share some of their upload bandiwdth for the content, then a lot of users will not want to watch advertisments (payment has been made by providing upload bandwidth).

Have the people recommending P2P taken these facts into account?

Pramod Biligiri says:

I wonder how people can predict such things)..does it require some amazing insight or does it just require experience in the industry or keeping your ears to the ground or is it something else?

I'd say a combination of all. And you left out luck! I'm becoming more convinced that for every organic success like Google, Yahoo or Youtube, there are hundreds of products(even Apple TV) which rely on the tried-and-test formula of market research, execution and marketing. It's just we are only aware of the "marketing" phase.

Being on the cutting edge of technology, we might overstate the importance of the idea. But brick-and-mortar businesses are all about execution and efficiency.

Levi Blackman says:

"Unless everyone starts video chatting or, like Dr. Satish described, everyone is watching videos on the TV and the video is streamed via the internet."

Just got Fiber Optics installed at my house last week. Also comes with cable, and sometimes when everyone in the house is downloading, the TV will say buffering at the bottom of the screen.

cazi says:

I think FilesWire is a great example of p2p in your web browser. It allows you to access millions of files on the gnutella network without downloading a client. Rather then being part of the browser it is application (java applet) that runs in the browser; this means you keep your bandwidth usage to a minimum as you can simply close the page when you wish to turn of the application.

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