BitTorrent may be the name that draws the headlines, but uTorrent is the application that draws the users. No P2P sharing program enjoys a bigger user base than uTorrent – which is owned by BitTorrent, coincidentally enough – but its developers don't use the application's success as an excuse to sit around and watch "Game of Thrones" downloads all day – you know, "for research." Version 3.0 of the popular client has been in beta since April, and today, it went live.
Streamlining the UI and offering more sharing options were the big focuses in uTorrent 3.0. Technically called "progressive downloading," the new streaming function lets you start watching a download long before it actually finishes – a feature we heartily welcome. There's also a new drag-and-drop feature that lets you deposit large files in a box and get a "Download" web link in return. That way, you can share files with your buddies without needing to post a torrent publicly or use a service like RapidShare. You'll also be able to monitor your torrents from a different computer using uTorrent's Web-based remote access interface.
The new release also brings social media aspects to the P2P program. Users will be able to rate and recommend individual torrents from inside the uTorrent client itself. In addition, BitTorrent launched a uChat app today that lets you chat away with other uTorrent and BitTorrent users. It's an interesting idea in theory, but since in reality the majority of P2P file-sharing involves copyright infringement rather than Linux distros, we doubt that downloaders will be in a rush to share their innermost thoughts with their fellow pirates -- especially since your IP address is visible to everybody in the chat room.