Sometimes, developers make the weirdest choices. Today we look at a browser add-on/extension that supposedly picks up torrent files just as you download them and connects to their trackers just like your favorite torrent client does. I say "supposedly" because ZTorrent is very picky when it comes to actually working.
Torrent browser integration is not a new thing. Torch for example is a browser that is dedicated to managing torrent downloads. However, many would rather keep their browser and use a client for this extracurricular activity. While ZTorrent is aiming at this merging again, being a simple add-on, means it cannot possibly rise to be feature heavy as Torch or regular client software; at least that was my concern.
And I was right. ZTorrent is virtually featureless.
Soon after installation I realized that the program would only install on Firefox. Maybe because in my case Firefox was the default browser, but it would have been nice to chose which browser to be augmented. A wasted opportunity. Secondly, I could not make ZTorrent work. Even with the permanently active add-on, files were being downloaded in the regular manner.
When I checked a video on the official website though, it looked like clicking on the Download link, would automatically open a new tab, which shows the file structure and a download progress bar underneath. With a high degree of curiosity, I followed the instructions, even connecting to the same torrent site as in the video. Lo and behold, it worked! So that means it likes mininova. Good to know.
Coming back to the features, or the lack thereof, the ZTorrent tab only shows a navigable file tree and some basic download data at the bottom of the tab window. That's it. There's no control over what is downloaded or priority. As files become available, they would become more opaque rather than transparent in order to signal that. However, you can't navigate to them directly either. The three most used features of a torrent client are absolutely missing here.
The idea of ZTorrent is decent, but so far it looks like a concept rather than a finished product. It's in dire need of optimization and development.