All Peers, the UK-based open-source application for sharing large files inside a browser, shuts down today. When it launched in August 2006 it was named by Skype founder Niklas Zennström as among Europe’s most innovative tech start-ups. AllPeers had raised a single round of financing from Mangrove Capital Partners and Index Ventures. In a post on their blog today the founders said:
It is with deep regret that we inform our users, friends and fans that we will be shutting down the AllPeers service today. We are tremendously proud of the product that our team has built, and we remain convinced of the potential of adding social features like file sharing to the web browser. However, we have not achieved the kind of growth in our user base that our investors were expecting, and as a result we are not able to continue operating the service.
The AllPeers Firefox extension brought peer to peer technologies into Firefox, giving users a persistent buddy list in the browser. It worked on Windows, Linux and Mac, which, once downloaded, became a toolbar in Mozilla Firefox. Buddies could see what files you chose to share and with a single click download it to their own hard drive. All Peers was aiming to “monetize” paid content.
FirePuddle, a BitTorrent extension for Firefox remains in the early stages, but few firms have tried to turn the idea into a commercial application, as All Peers did. Perhaps it’s now clear why.
However, AllPeers founders Cedric Maloux and Matt Gertner were eventually aiming AllPeers to be a P2P social network without all the scaling issues associated with the likes of Friendster’s early outage problems or Twitter’s current ones. As they said in an interview the idea was also to reduce the friction in buying content online and “make it dead simple”. But startups who base their model around P2P are all being affected by the increase in everyday broadband speeds which is reducing the needs for P2P applications, like Joost.
See also Techcrunch US.