Awhile back the brilliant folks behind uTorrent made it known that they were working on bringing a web-based interface to the free, lightweight Windows BitTorrent client. This week they released a new beta version of uTorrent that includes the new WebUI, and I am happy to report that it’s fantastic. So, what use is a web-based interface for a desktop program? Well, the WebUI allows you to access most of uTorrent’s from anywhere in the world, whether it be another computer on your home network or on another continent. Now, I’ve seen desktop programs with auxiliary web-based interfaces before, and while useful, they’re not always pretty. That is not the case with uTorrent’s WebUI. The WebUI looks and acts like a desktop application. It’s snappy and responsive and looks great. It doesn’t clone all of uTorrent’s features, of course, but pretty much all of the features you need on a day-to-day basis, and a lot you don’t, are there. You can add torrents from files or URLs, change file priorities, manage labels, use the integrated search, and even access most of uTorrent’s settings. All the while your downloads keep ticking away via the wonder that is Ajax. This is all backed by a password-protected login, but the uTorrent team is planning to add an optional guest account feature.
One potential caveat is that Internet Explorer 6 is not supported by the uTorrent WebUI, and, to quote the developers, “NEVER WILL BE.” They are, however, working on a mobile version of the WebUI, which may work with IE6. Oh, and in case you’re worried that the WebUI will add bloat to the traditionally slim uTorrent, fret not: The main uTorrent executable is still just 174kb, and the optional WebUI package adds just 57kb on top of that, and will as likely as not slim down even more by the final release.