Imagine you want to the three volumes of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. You get on the Internet and say, “Hey good people of the Internet, does anyone has the LoTR trilogy?”

If you were on some random site, here’s the answer you’ll get, “Hey, I’ve got all three volumes. Let me give it to you,” But on Torrent, is like a hundred people saying “Buddy, we’ve each got pages of this trilogy. Let us give you the pages and you can put the entire volume together yourself.”

This figuratively explains how peer-to-peer technology in Torrent works. In Torrent speak, it is when; a .torrent file that contains information such as trackers, sizes, file names about the file you want to download from the Internet that will connect you to the file you want.

It’s a pretty vast network. Most torrent sites on the Internet are consistently listed between 200 and 1,000 on Alexa.

A new graphic visualization explains how µTorrent’s peer-to-peer distribution technology works. Project Maelstrom Browser the visualization tool uses real-time BitTorrent’s magnet links to find copies of the torrent across its colossal peer-to-peer network. As the image above illustrates, the “target” in the center of the screen is the target you’re looking for. All the dots shown are the users µTorrent has asked to try and scout out your “target”.

During early days of Torrent, one had to download a torrent file from a tracker in order to get a list of all the other people who were currently torrenting the file you were looking for. Nowadays, with one simple click on the magnet link, one can automatically find all the other people who are currently torrenting it.

In the image below, the dots are other users. Project Maelstrom has asked 29 total people, where 19 helped while 17 knew a list of people that you could try downloading from. Once you’ve found people to download the torrent from you can ask them to transfer the file to you.

BitTorrent Protocol 2

The coolest thing about Project Maelstrom is that it is not just a web browser, but also a data visualization tool of how a .torrent file is downloaded from the Internet. If you want to see this visualization in real time, download the beta version of initiative from BitTorrent blog.