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?