A Browser-Based Joost? Welcome to the Club

Om reported today that Joost is getting ready to abandon its client and replace it with a web-based product that’s powered by a P2P plug-in. This step certainly makes sense for Joost. The service has been struggling to remain relevant ever since its launch, and the idea of web-based solution has been floating around for what seems like forever.

But Joost in a browser is also hardly revolutionary. In fact, there have been plenty of attempts to merge the world of Web 2.0 with distributed data delivery in recent months, and there are other promising efforts on the horizon. To this crowd, Joost is like the odd, new kid that shows up in school weeks after summer break. So please, be nice, give it a place at the table, and let’s start with a quick round of introductions.

Here are a few companies that have been trying browser-based P2P longer than Joost: 

Octoshape started with P2P audio streaming, but has been offering browser-based video streaming since 2006. It recently streamed the Olympic games live for a Korean broadcaster. Octoshape is using a hybrid approach that combines P2P with CDN solutions from CDNetworks. Unlike Joost, its browser plug-in is also available for PowerPC Macs and PCs running Linux.

PPLive, the Chinese P2P TV service that keeps impressing us with its huge user base, launched a browser plug-in just in time for the Beijing Olympics.

RedSwoosh , which was recently acquired by Akamai, not only has its own browser-based BitTorrent client in place, but also a streaming/progressive downloading solution for web-hosted videos.

Mediamelon is another plug-in based P2P video offering that actually launched at Newteevee Live last year.

UK-based Rawflow is not only offering its P2P plug-in to major broadcasters, it’s also running a Ustream-like site at Selfcast.com. Oddly enough, it looks like Rawflow stopped using its own P2P technology for Selfcast a while back. The site just streams Flash without requiring any plug-in installations. Rawflow’s P2P technology is now marketed by Velocix.

Neokast also offers a Ustream-like site with P2P-powered live streams. Neokast is Windows-only. The company recently started to offer a commercial stream server application for P2P-loving lifecasters.

BitTorrent Inc. is using its DNA plug-in to offer P2P streaming in the browser. The company is collaborating with Brightcove to make the technology available for broadcasters. DNA is only available for Windows so far, and it’s not yet compatible with the existing BitTorrent/uTorrent install base.