Azureus 3.0 was launched today. The latest revision to the wildly popular Bittorrent client is a major departure from the interface found in previous versions. In an apparent effort to monetize the open source application, Azureus has been bonded with a new web site called Zudeo.com. The site seems to be engineered with the intent to further popularize torrent use by indexing content that does not infringe on content copyright holders.
The latest version of Azureus is a vast graphical departure from the interface found in version 2.5. In fact, in looking at the application, it becomes difficult to see where Azureus leaves off and Zudeo.com begins. The two have become very tightly infused in an effort to make them synonymous. Azureus includes not only a graphical UI that looks like the Zudeo site, but it now includes a search feature that returns content results from Zudeo right in the torrent application.
So, is Azureus 3.0 a useful upgrade? Honestly the jury is still out. The application only hit the net this morning and so far even I’m not sure. I use a torrent client to download the content that I want, not to search out content. Based on initial testing, there isn’t a lot of interesting content currently indexed by Zudeo. With that in mind, the launch is only hours old, and content listings will likely expand quickly. In fact, Zudeo could become a powerful means of gathering podcast and IP based syndicated television content in time. This is a market that Apple’s iTunes currently dominates and could stand some competition.
The user interface is a vast departure from what Azureus fans are use to. Rest assured, the old classic look and functionality is just a click away. A small tab in the upper right hand corner of the main window is labeled Advanced. Click it and the old school, hardcore functionality of the Azureus we all know and love is restored. With that, all of the power-user menus and preferences become accessible along with the powerful underlying plug-in architecture that has made the application so flexible.
Is Azureus 3.0 a step in the right direction? Admittedly, I’m partial to the somewhat intimidating interface of past releases. But then again, a new UI could make the app easier to use. And anything that helps bring Bittorrent more into the mainstream and helps emphasize its legitimate uses can only be a good thing. All of the past functionality of the application appears to have been maintain while adding new features that make the software easier to use. For now, checkout Zudeo.com and download Azureus 3.0. As of this moment, 3.0 has not been released on the SourceForge site, so, for now, Zudeo is the only place to find the latest release.