Red Swoosh is a P2P desktop client which appears to compete against the BitTorrent client. It's a very promising technology in a Web world increasingly filled with video and other large multimedia files. Red Swoosh is a desktop client (Windows only) that enables users to download and stream files from each other, rather than from webservers. It works like this: you signup to the service, then when you have a large file that you want to publish on your website, you "swoosh" the link by adding http://edn.redswoosh.net to the front of the URL; then when a user clicks on a swooshed link, they are prompted to install the Red Swoosh client if he/she has not previously done so. Red Swoosh uses http and not a specific p2p protocol like bittorrent.
Red Swoosh claims to offer the most efficient P2P file-sharing system on the internet. One of the investors behind the company is Mark Cuban, who recently wrote a long post about why BitTorrent is doomed (via TorrentFreak). His point was that the bittorrent protocol is actually no more efficient in terms of bandwidth than the client-server setup. Incidentally Cuban doesn't mention his affiliation with Red Swoosh in that post (he may've done so before, I'm not sure). But Cuban's post is clearly aimed at pumping up Red Swoosh over BitTorrent, albeit indirectly, so a disclosure would've been in order.
Over on the Red Swoosh blog there's an interesting post about how P2P can save Apple $15 Million. I corresponded with one of the Red Swoosh developers to find out more. He told me the premise behind it is that P2P is the future of distribution, especially for popular outlets like iTunes. He told me:
"Bandwidth is a bottleneck. That didn't matter to much when we were just sending and receiving pictures and music, but video is going to break the camel's back."
In the post they looked at Apple's iTunes store and calculated how much money is spent on bandwidth for the millions of songs, movies, and TV shows being transferred. They believe that $15 M is being "wasted" by Apple not converting to p2p.
The Red Swoosh team seems very confident of their chances in the P2P and video file transfer business:
"At Redswoosh, we're commited to making the best p2p system on the web. We're already hitting akamai numbers, and that's in small tests where the network effect of p2p hasn't really kicked in.
If you think BitTorrent is fast, just wait till you try Swooshing."
What do you think of the technology - does it have as much potential as BitTorrent?