A bit of community

Torrent Swapper combines a full-fledged torrent client with an interactive community.

Torrent Swapper mashes a perfectly reasonable BitTorrent client with the idea of a burgeoning community. The result?

Nobody's quite sure yet.

The strength of the BitTorrent has also been its weakness, if you can forgive the zen clich?. While the manner in which torrents work to distribute files make them faster than any other P2P out there, the decentralized nature of the program has meant that users are left to their own devices to find torrents. Many Web-based communities have been successful at creating torrenting networks, but there hasn't been one that's been tied to the torrent client itself, until Torrent Swapper.

The Torrent Swapper community isn't a full-on group as you find in DC++ or LimeWire. Rather, it's a well-designed recommendation system that allows torrenters to rate torrents, and for other torrenters to download the torrent and start torrenting, all from within the program.

Once you've opened a torrent file, you can access the two community functions. A white star against an orange field icon on the toolbar gives you access to Recommendations and your Download History. Recommended torrents come with a rating score, the number of sources sharing them, the number of files in the torrent and the torrent's tracker location. You can set the list to only show torrents with a recommendation above a minimum threshold, helping you avoid bad torrents. From within your Download History, you can rate the torrents you've downloaded.

The Manage Friends/Encountered Peers icon is a white circle with three dots against a blue background. From here you can add, edit and remove Friends, while the Encountered Peers list keeps track of everybody who has opened any of the same torrent files that you've opened. This makes it easier to add and find friends, ostensibly with similar sharing habits as you.

Given basis of Torrent Swapper's community, it's currently impossible to mask your IP address, as you can in other torrent clients. Swapper also has a bit of a clunky feel to it, and frequent lags when starting up downloads didn't help. But if you're willing to trade those for a bit more direct feedback, or if you miss the immediacy of communicating like you can in LimeWire and Kazaa, you might want to swap in Torrent Swapper.