Torch Browser is a free Chromium based web browser specifically designed for people who use the web for sharing via social networks, downloading torrents, accelerating downloads and grabbing online media, which can all be performed directly from the browser. Being based on the Chromium source, Torch Browser shares all the goodness of Google Chrome including extensions, incognito mode, online sync, developer tools and all the rest that attracts users to the Webkit browser. In other words, Torch Browser does all Google Chrome can do and more.
The browser’s three main features – torrents, social sharing, and media downloading – are prominently featured in the toolbar via buttons. The Share button lets user quickly post to Facebook and Twitter without leaving the current page. The Torrent button allows the built-in torrent client to be turned on or off, while the Video button allows downloading of embedded media files including video and audio.
A lot of YouTube video downloading tools stopped working after Google made changes to YouTube’s code last year. Torch browser’s media grabber, however, works fine with YouTube videos. Aside from YouTube, the included media grabber allows you to retrieve audio and video files from a large number of websites by simply clicking a button. No third-party tools or extensions are required.
Speaking of extensions, you will be glad to learn that Torch browser supports the same extensions that you use in Google Chrome. So if you intend to make the switch from Chrome to Torch, you can bring along all your favorite extensions. You also don’t have to abandon Sync that you use to keep all your Chrome settings in synchronization across multiple devices. You can use the same Google account to sync all your settings between Torch browser and Chrome.
The integrated torrent client is another fine addition. This isn’t a half baked tool like the one in Opera. Torch’s torrent client is a powerful piece of software that can handle both .torrent files as well as magnet links. The torrent client offers a familiar interface with the main panel showing download progress, size, speed, ETA etc., a bottom panel with multiple tabs for information about trackers, peers, files activity log etc., and a sidebar that lets you filter your torrent list to show those that are currently in download, or seeding or paused.
Advanced features such as the ability to set seeding ratio, restrict download/upload speed, set alternative speeds, set maximum peers per torrent, encryption options, changing of listening ports etc. are all supported.
To make sharing and searching easier, Torch browser employs two floating panels that appear on either side of the screen. These panels allow you to select text from a webpage and drag-and-drop on to the panels to instantly share on a social network or search the selected text on one of the included search engines.
The panels are translucent and shouldn’t impair your normal browsing experience. But once you start dragging a selected text towards one of these floating panels, they expand to reveal a number of social networks or search engines, as the case might be. You can configure which networks or search engines appear in these panels, and if you find them distracting you can turn them off permanently.
Finally, there is Torch Music, a streaming music service that lets you search for music, build playlist, and then listen to them by pulling music videos from YouTube.
There is no dearth of Chrome spin-offs (SRWare Iron, Comodo Dragon, Yandex) but Torch is the only one that tries to do something different. Torch is all about enjoying the web. If you are really onto torrents and love downloading online videos to your computer, I can assure you that you will find Torch Browser wonderfully effective for your needs.